06. 06. 2022
13 min read

We just opened a whole new door in following technology

Introducing PFF smarts™: gitamini’s new autonomous mode

Have you ever thought about how you navigate through something as simple as a door? Or how you walk differently when you’re with a friend or with your dog? Probably not, but those are the kinds of subconscious movements that our Smart Behaviors team obsessively studies in order to inform gitamini’s behavior; its “pedestrian etiquette” as they call it. They’ve spent thousands of hours collecting data about the way people move in a variety of situations; on their own, in groups, while carrying objects, walking with dogs, and how a variety of animals move in groups; alpacas, geese, sheep, ducks, goats, mules, and even falcons. They really leave no stone unturned.

Like other smart tech, gitamini’s technology can be enhanced through easily downloadable updates. When Smart Behaviors develops a new feature (based on insights from our gitamini community), an update gets sent out to robot owners through the mygita app. Typically these updates are small tweaks and refinements, but our next update is a pretty big deal: a whole new autonomous mode that enhances gitamini’s ability to navigate through doors more naturally. It’s been over a year in the making and we’re so excited to finally be able to geek out about it.

PFF smarts™

Before we get into the doors update specifically, we’ve got to step back a bit and talk about gitamini’s modes: Park, Pair, Off, Charging, Error, and now PFF smarts™(or as we like to think of it, “magic mode”). This new mode is defined by the behaviors where gitamini navigates autonomously, without direct instruction from its user—when it’s triggered to momentarily decouple from the user, perform a maneuver on its own, and then automatically pairs back to the user or sits in Park mode. 

When deciding which PFF smarts™ behavior to develop first, Smart Behaviors went out to our gitamini community to gather insights and one thing in particular rose to the top: doors. 

“We are always listening to customer feedback to determine what improvements we need to make. Doors were specifically called out by many customers as a pain point, so we went after them first. There's a lot of stuff we CAN do, but we focus on what we SHOULD do.” –Jess, gitamini Product Manager 

So the research began; they studied how people walk through different types of doors, how they walk through doors in groups vs alone, with children, with dogs, with carts, with rolling suitcases, and how walking behaviors (start, stop, turn) change at different speeds. Then using this data, the engineering phase begins to explore how to implement the behavior into gitamini. The result of all this research and development is an incredibly advanced software update.

Here’s how it works:

  • gitamini’s new update allows it to recognize the opening of a door using its sensor vision and a little bit of magic. 

gitamini tip: When using a door with gitamini, the user should think of their robot as a person. They’ll need to hold the door for it just like a human pedestrian.

  • This triggers gitamini to go into PFF smarts™ mode (indicated by its lights turning purple and the playing of an original sound designed by Berklee College of Music), unpairing with its user to move through the open door, turn, and wait.

  • When both gitamini and the user have passed through the door’s threshold, gitamini repairs when its user comes back into its view.

gitamini tip: gitamini recognizes certain characteristics about the user it was following prior to going into PFF smarts mode so it can automatically pair to the same user.

  • For doors that swing away from it, the user goes through the door first and gitamini follows, adjusting its path to avoid the doorframe. 

gitamini tip: Remember gitamini still relies on its user to follow. It wouldn’t hurt to try it out a few times at home to get used to it before going out in the world.

  • For doors that swing toward it, gitamini waits for its user to open the door. Then it unpairs, travels through the door on its own, turns and then waits for its user on the other side. 

gitamini tip: the Smart Behaviors team identified the ideal spot for gitamini to wait—it’s where most people would expect it to be waiting for them. If there is something in this spot (say a person or plant) gitamini will accommodate. 

This update not only enhances gitamini’s door navigation, it makes it better and smarter all around. Doors was just the first behavior developed for PFF smarts™ mode, but it’s certainly not the last. 

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