IMPORTANT NOTE FOR CONTEST JUDGES: If you do not have a Rovio robot please contact me for a remote demo session from the comfort of your own home or office. You can pilot my Rovio remotely and make a movie from your PC by installing Robodance 5. Also If you have an Evernote account you can record a movie of the session and have it uploaded directly to your Evernote account automatically. If you have an Emotiv EPOC EEG headset please contact me and I will send you the version that supports it so you can pilot my Rovio using just head movements, your mind, and eye-blinks instead of the default mouse-based point and click interface. The download link for the regular version is at the bottom of this page.
Robodance won the coveted SourceForge Project Of The Month award in 2005, selected by SourceForgeís judges out of hundreds of thousands of other software packages.
Robodance and Skype
By taking advantage of the Skype API Robodance takes an ordinary Rovio telepresence robot and makes it accessible from a Skype video call. Without Robodance you have to reconfigure your router to open a port, and then get a DNS service to rout public traffic to that port so you can access your Rovio from remote locations over the web. By using Skype, accessing your Rovio is as simple as placing a Skype video call and you do not need to know how to configure your router and the need for a DNS service is completely eliminated. In addition, your normally unencrypted session and login details are no longer open to prying or snooping thanks to Skype's 256 encryption, a feature that is critical during a session using a public WiFi hotspot. Finally, you get clear well synchronized full duplex audio and smooth video, instead of suffering the known streaming problems that come from web browser inconsistencies because Robodance allows you to dispense with a web browser completely.
Robodance and Evernote
Evernote is the worlds leading personal information warehouse and is so good many consider it a digital extension for their brain. Robodance uses the Evernote API to make it easy to record and instantly archive videos of your Rovio sessions to Evernote. Common reasons for recording sessions are:
Catch your adorable pets in the act as they cause trouble while your away or just talk to them when you are homesick for them on vacation, all from a camera viewpoint that lets you see the world from their viewpoint.
Archive remote monitoring videos of your home while your away or of your vacation homes for insurance and security records
Capture important memories with your loved ones or children when you are on the road that you can watch over and over again
Make Movies of your Remote Session (and send them to Evernote)
You can make movies of your remote sessions with Robodance and have them automatically sent to your Evernote account. Each movie contains:
A movie containing full video and duplex audio between you and who you are speaking to
A separate wave file containing just the audio you can send to a transcription service for automatic text archiving (several services can work directly with your Evernote account, automatically)
All Skype chat messages typed by you or the party at the other hand. Each message is shown with the time it occurred in the video/audio files so you can use chat messages to create an ad hoc table of contents into those files
You can assign the destination Notebook and tags for your movie note and include a comment, just like you can with the Evernote Web clipper.
The Future is Now - Control A Remote Spy Robot with your Mind (EEG Headset)
The deluxe version of Robodance supports the Emotiv EPOC 14-electrode consumer headset. With this groundbreaking device you can pilot a Rovio completely hands-free, using just head movements, your mind, and eye-blinks. As you move your head left/right or up/down, Rovio will do the same. When you concentrate on the thought or feeling you selected to be your "gas pedal", Rovio will respond and go forward, backward, left or right. It's a more natural exciting way to pilot a telepresence robot. It also makes the system accessible to quadriplegics and other severely disabled people while giving them a way to explore the world around them, extending their eyes and ears across the Web in a way that restores their sense of independence.
Mobile Health - Telemedicine
The system is also a great for you to check in on an elderly person who requires assisted living, just to say hello or to record a video to show to an off-site doctor or nurse if you are concerned about their condition. If the off-site healt practitioner sees a problem, in the blink of an eye they can check in themselves and interact with the patient remotely to see if there is an urgent problem that might require medical care.
Videos of Robodance
Mind Controlled Robot
In the video on the left I use the Emotiv Systems EPOC EEG headset with itís built-in gyroscope to pilot a Rovio mobile spy robot remotely over the Web using my thoughts, facial gestures, and head movements. I created a link between the EPOC headset and Robodance using the Emotiv Systems software developerís kit (SDK).
Training Video for Emotiv EPOC version
This video shows the official training video for the version that uses the Emotiv EPOC 14-electrode headset to pilot the robot in a completely hands-free manner. The video shows how easy it is to use the system using only head movement, eye-blinks, and your mind, making it suitable for the severely physically disabled like quadriplegics. It also is a unique and natural way to control the robot for early adopters and those curious about the future of robotics and alternative user interfaces.
How it all works
Note: The diagram includes the EPOC headset, which is an optional device and is not necessary for using Robodance. The default interface uses a typical mouse-based point and click interface.
The diagram at the left gives you an overview of how everything hooks together to create a remote session using a Skype video call. If you want a really in-depth description of what I did to add support to Robodance for the EPOC headset, please read my article on ExtremeTech on the Emotiv Systems SDK which contains a ton of screen-shots, sample source code, and detailed discussion of how the system was implemented and how it works, including my comments on performance and usability.
To download the regular version of Robodance 5 (does not have Emotiv EPOC support, please E-mail for that version). Use the link below. Robodance runs on any Windows system with at least Windows XP or newer, and in some cases on a Mac running something like Crossover or Parallels: