Robots get an open source Web-based helpline

European RoboEarth project produces Rapyuta repository for robot experiences

Scientists in Europe say they have developed a cloud service that lets intelligent robots dial in to get help with circumstances they may have not encountered before or a problem they cannot solve.

Developed by the European RoboEarth project, the Rapyuta database is a repository of information, stored in a standardized language that robots can access for information as well as offload complicated computations that may take a lot of memory for an individual robot to handle, the RoboEarth outfit says.

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The database will not only let robots look up new information but its creators say it will make robots cheaper by not requiring them to store large amounts of data on their own systems, reducing memory requirements.  The system could also allow the development of robotic teams to address a problem or handle a new activity.

"Rapyuta helps robots to offload heavy computation by providing secured customizable computing environments in the cloud. Robots can start their own computational environment, launch any computational node uploaded by the developer, and communicate with the launched nodes using the WebSockets protocol," according to RoboEarth. As wireless data speeds increase more and more robotic thinking could be offloaded to the Web, researchers stated.

"The system could be particularly useful for drones, self-driving cars or other mobile robots who have to do a lot of number crunching just to get round," Mohanarajah Gajamohan, technical head of the project at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich told the BBC in a report on the database.

The name Rapyuta is inspired from the movie "Tenku no Shiro Rapyuta" (Castle in the Sky) where Rapyuta is the castle in the sky inhabited by robots.

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