The generic research, based on Ambient Intelligence with Tangible Objects, is envisaged to create technological
results exploitable for creation of a new generation of entertainment robotics, as well as development
of truly flexible production technology. Pervasive computing have been identified as a core technology
in the struggle to improve competitiveness on the global marked, in industry in general, and in this context
in the entertainment industry specifically.
Even though the motivation for the two cases differs, the same keywords are repeated:
- Flexibility, in the sense of non-repetitive tasks.
- Self-organization, in the sense that system behavior is achieved through the way the systems are organized.
In entertainment robotics current technology in entertainment is based on one central controller performing
all processing, even though a few of these products puts emphasis on constructionist aspects. This artifact
conception of central control has serious limitations. For example, the artifacts are often (and mostly)
isolated from the environment and between each other. Secondly, in most cases, they appear to be difficult
to handle, especially for young users. Furthermore, the central control entertainment robots are often
made specifically for one or few play scenarios, and the costumer expensive per play scenario is therefore
high. Using ambient intelligence with tangible objects, which suggests distributing control to
units with processing power and communication capabilities, will enable the development of more generic
and intelligent LEGO bricks, which can be build together in many forms, forming multiple play scenarios.
With distributed intelligence in the LEGO bricks, the user will be allowed to develop complex behaviors
of “intelligent” artifacts in a simple manner that does not demand extensive knowledge of
neither programming languages nor modern artificial intelligence research. This will enable younger user
to be targeted, and the marked for entertainment robotics to be extended.
In flexible production technology the global market place has significantly increased the need to be
more competitive and costumer-driven. Not only is it critical to lower cost while improving production
and distribution capabilities, but this must be done while competing for the loyalty of the customer.
Increasingly, organizations are moving to models of mass customization and one-to-one relationships with
their customers. In the context of production companies, this means that customers may be able to specify
specialized production models, product lifecycles become increasingly short, and the diversity of production
series will narrow – perhaps to the production series of one for the individual customer. Approaching
the market in this way, it becomes possible to build and sustain relationships with customers, even to
the point of charging them slightly higher prices but for even better, personal products and services.
This is a significant challenge for existing businesses.
The manufacturing systems of today are largely automated – however, with present automation technology,
such systems have been designed for production in large quantities, requiring economies of scale, resulting
in low flexibility. Approaching mass customization with this existing manufacturing system paradigm is
often infeasible or impossible. In order to approach the one-to-one vision, the development and introduction
of flexible and re-configurable manufacturing systems is necessary. In order to develop a flexible production
environment intelligence and communication power will be distributed to production equipment of all forms.
This will enable production equipment of different types to interact with each other, autonomously handling
low-level decisions as part of the collective production platform. A high-level shop floor control system
will handle communication with other systems, distribute overall tasks, ensuring that overall schedule
is being achieved, and track the complete status of the entire system.