To prepare for the home of the future, The TRI researchers are investigating the idea of integrating robotics directly into the home. Instead of robots needing to navigate a cluttered floor, it could travel on the ceiling and be tucked out of the way when it's not needed.
To explore this idea, researchers built a prototype robot that flips the current mobile manipulator on its head. The robot, called the gantry robot, is now effectively upside down and moves about on tracks pre-installed on the ceiling.
Using the ceiling instead of the ground for robot motion is particularly appealing in Japan, where homes and other residential dwellings are very small, packed with furniture and objects, and have no room for a floor dwelling robot.