A friendly tourist guide
Folke is a tourist guide robot that we developed for Visit Linköping. They approached us and wanted to introduce robotics into the tourism of Linköping. Through a collaborative development process with lots of user testing, we created Folke. He is able to verbally communicate in 4 different languages – Swedish, English, German and Chinese. He has been guiding tourists in various scenic locations in Linköping, and currently he resides in various hotel lobbies.
The physical robot itself is actually based on a QT-robot by LuxAI. By heavily modifying its software, we were able to suit the needs of our client. We even created a whole new design for the face, in order to accomodate for new functions and a new identity.
pre-study and concept evaluation
We helped our client research the robotics market and analyze what type of solutions would fit their industry. A social guide robot could come in many forms, such as being mobile and having wheels. In order to more easily discuss pros and cons of different types of robots, we drew up storyboards and had collaborative idea workshops. In the end, we landed on QT-robot by LuxAI having the right feel.
In order the reach a good result with Folke, we had to heavily focus on the user experience. Robots are not as good as humans when it comes to verbal communication, of course. But by having the the right audiovisual cues, such as prompts on the screen and audio prompts, human-robot verbal communication can be made much easier.
At its core, the QT-robot uses ROS to communicate and synchronize with its different sensors and motors, as well as synchronizing audiovisual cues for the user. It uses Google Dialogflow to understand speech and generate answers. As such, it is connected to the cloud at all times. Through tight communication between developers and designers, and iterative testing, we could arrive at a satisfying user experience.