ERF 2018 - Meeting the Gurus

What did we learn?

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Every year European robot makers gather to see each other and customers to give lectures about latest advancements. Presentations are light, easy to digest and provide a good overall picture of current affairs. 

This year fair was a kilometer away from our office, so there was no excuse not to go. I had to go alone because everyone else is busy developing the robot. The idea of stand-on-the wheels was so good we got some semi-serious orders for the platform for next years meeting. I handed out around 100 business cards and over 700 stickers with "Friendly Robot" theme. MIR, Pulu M and TeknoAnts in the picture left.

On the first day, everything went as bad as possible. No, we did not kill anyone by diving into a stairwell. We had a major DemoEffect. This meant the robot was standing still, and folks passed by wondering am I selling snake oil or cotton candy with my fancy booth on wheels.

    The second day was a lot better.

    The new 3D TOF was working well. It detected stairwells, tabletops. Chrome table poles were something it did not see too well. We know the reason too. The sensor is lacking IR band pass filter, simply because we had no time to add it. For Pulu M it was just a second day it ever had four 3D TOF sensors.

    Is it surprising we manufacture 3D TOF sensor in-house?!
    We had to, because no-one makes it the way we wanted it to be.

    Pulu M easily avoided all sorts of obstacles. We learned our navigation still needs refining and newly made sensors calibrating. TOF creates a lot of heat, and needs more efficient cooling. Fixes are on the way!

    Taking a risk by providing HIGH robot running among people paid off. Established robot brands did not dare to do this simply because they have no default sensors capable of seeing things the way Pulu does. Diving under the table is a whole lot easier than avoiding collision with table top. Unintended as it was, it made visitors bow to the big brands when picking up brochures from the robot. 

    The Friendly and modest PuluRobot asks for no bow; it provides convenient access to swag and dining, making it more like a servant than a master.

    During the three days Pulu was present at Tamperetalo, service people and security learned to love it. It got wry mouths, petting, pushing and smiles. We got special treatment because we shamelessly dived among the crowd!  Pulu also showed its true nature - id did not bother, just carried on for the designated destination, making corrections and rerouting when necessary!
    Picture: Business Tampere Jouni Myllymäki and Heini Wallander having lunch on Pulu M Delivery Boy app!
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    Pulu with 3D TOF raised significant interest. The first question always is "what can you do with it?" The second is "how does the robot navigate?" A common question "can we purchase the sensor separately?" was thrown in more than ten times.

    We will make a new product, PuluTOF for Raspi, with controller hat and four sensors. It is already working inside Pulu M.

    Adapt PuluTOF to ROS and get your free development kit!

    To give the most to community and accelerate development we decided to give free development kit to first three developers who have heels to adapt PuluTOF to ROS and provide it to community! If you wish to participate, please send email to miika.oja(at) 
    The price for PuluTOF will be around the same as low-end LIDAR, less than 500 euros with four sensors,  but it gives you 3D point cloud instead of a single plane. Five times a second. To small 30x40 robot it is enough to provide 360 vision in 3D! We expect it to be available shortly!

    Pulu team loves to learn from the best!

    At Gala dinner. I was the only one not receiving prize or recognition at this table, but hey; I shared the table with the best! Is there any better place to be?

    Thank You!

    Pulu wants to thank You all who gave us attention, questions, suggestions and new ideas. Without Your input we would have a lot less!

    We keep on developing the most universal, able and affordable platform for those who need mobile robotics! 

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