May 27 2013
Anne van Rossum

Two websites

We launched two websites that show a bit what we are doing at DO:


If you followed our work, you saw that we have been working on a special robot, the Dotty. This robot is a smartphone-based robot, but different from the ones that are now on the market, it is able to recharge itself by making use of the USB connection through the smartphone. The newest smartphones are able to recharge themselves via QI or other means. We have first experimented with different methods ourselves, for example with Witricity which you might now from the famous Ted talk by Eric Giler. However, by using the inate functionality of the wireless charging smartphone, we won’t be limited to one provider of wireless charging functionality, which is ideal in our case.

We would like to give the Dotty to the world, but before we can do so, we have to experiment with all the different forms and options that are out there. The course exchange your old smartphone for money. However, you won’t get much, especially not if the screen is broken for example. So, why not give it to us! Smartphones turned into robots is of course not the only idea imaginable. That’s why we set ourselves to redesign our website if there are other ideas for a second life for your smartphone. We have already two incoming ideas. Mats Lundgren from SilverLine uses smartphones for the elderly. Blair Palmen from HopePhones for Medic Mobile. If you don’t have a second phone to spare, feel free to tell us on if you have another great idea.


A funny name, with a lot of DO (from DoBots) in it. That’s our website very well that we now have market places or app stores to get applications for our smartphones. However, smartphones are not the only devices in our life. Especially from our perspective of robotics, we want to have a seamless experience across all your devices. You should be able to install applications across your smartphone, your home automation device, your mediabox, your laptop, even your online server park with drag-and-drop actions.

The website is a hub that brings together a lot of software packages build by many developers. On the moment you can add your own repository to add your own modules to the hub. To build these modules a lot of helper code has been created. It would take too far to go in detail here, but the code itself is open-source and a description on how to use it can be found at These utilities allow a developer to program certain functionality once and subsequently wrapper code will be generated to be able to use it in many different middlewares or frameworks. The currently supported middlewares are YARP, ROS, ZeroMQ, and NodeJS. Moreover, and important for us, robotici, the code can generate binaries for multiple architectures, the blackfin processor, the RaspBerry PI, etc. The modules are described by a general interface that uses a “port” abstraction. On it will become possible to drag-and-drop blocks and draw lines between them to implement a distributed application across your smartphone, a laptop, and a robot for example to implement a “remote-presence robot” yourself.

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