Interactive Projector

Aido has an inbuilt head mounted interactive projector that lets you engage with your projected content. And it comes with an (optional) HD multimedia projector that is designed for multimedia usage.

  • The head mounted interactive projector is designed for quick on/off operations. You could ask Aido to do a Google search and show you results. Since the projector has gesture recognition built-in, you can flick to see more results or tap in the air to open a particular link.
  • The interactive projector is also of great use in the kitchen. You can ask Aido to show you a recipe, and as you’re cooking, use the swipe gesture to look through instructions as you go along.
  • The interactive projector lets you play quick and fun gesture-based games.
  • The HD multimedia projector is designed for entertainment buffs. The HD multimedia projector lets you watch media by projecting it on a wall at a distance of up to 3.5m. Since Aido can move around on its own, you can ask Aido to project media near where you sit, or call your friends over and play a movie to enjoy with your drinks.

Inside Aido

We wanted Aido’s interface to run Android, as this would immediately give users access to millions of apps on the Google Play Store. However, Android was not powerful enough for what Aido had to tackle at home.

Hence, we decided on a dual OS architecture for Aido.

Android interface

Aido’s Android frontend runs a Rockwell chip with 512MB RAM. This runs a version of Android Lollipop & a custom UI interface for rich interactions with people.


Linux core

Aido’s core system runs on two quad-core 1.6GHz processors, each with 1GB DDR RAM. Aido’s core processor runs a headless version of Ubuntu. We have removed unnecessary drivers & modules that Aido doesn’t need. We are calling this version OpenAido.

OpenAido controls elements like mobility, WiFi signal strength & navigation, system guidance, onboard sensors, and projectors. We will be exposing select APIs for this interface, especially around the sensors for users who would like to play around with controls and data.

We will be releasing OpenAido under an open source license so that other robotics solutions can use the same system.


OpenAido and Android communicate over a secure VPN at all times.

  • If there is a Wi-Fi connection available, both systems connect to it and communicate over this.
  • If there is no Wi-Fi network available, the Linux system acts as a WiFi hotspot and the Android system connects to it as a client.
  • In the latter mode, Aido will not be able to communicate with internet-based services, but can still run local media and functionality.

Moves around the house seamlessly

Aido is a robot to be used at home, and that has its own constraints. Aido would have to navigate around objects like chairs & tables. He would have to change direction easily as it moved around obstacles at home.

Aido balances on an omnidirectional ball – a ballbot design.

  • Balancing Aido on a single ball means it is easy to spin around a central axis, so turning Aido around is much simpler.
  • With a single ball base, Aido is able to move out of the way quickly if it bumps into something.
  • By balancing forces between Aido’s body and the ball, Aido can navigate floors & even carpets.

With software, we can make sure Aido is balanced when at rest or when moving.

Aido is never really still, even when it is standing. It constantly equilibrates by slowly revolving the ball underneath its centre of gravity.

Aido uses a similar mechanism.

Aido counters sudden changes to its balance (a tilt of more than 8 degrees) with a set of retractable legs that spring out from the base to prevent it from keeling over. Push Aido, and the legs will spring out to provide immediate support. Aido will quickly try to stabilize by itself and draw the legs back in.

When Aido is stationary for a long time, it uses the legs to support itself. The legs also offer support when Aido is charging.

Note: The first ballbot was developed in 2006 at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) in the USA. Another ballbot was developed at Tohoku Gakuin University (TGU) in Japan and a third one as a student project 2009 at the University of Adelaide (UA) in Australia.

Aido listens to you..

We believe that voice will play a huge role in making robots more useful.

When designing Aido, we wanted users to talk to Aido, and Aido reply back in a conversational & more personal manner:

  • Aido has a 6 mic array set around a circular base with a dedicated hardware chip for listening to human voice, even in noisy environments. It is the same design that many smart TVs use to allow users to control functions using voice.
  • Aido uses a leading 3rd party speech engine based on a custom deep neural net architecture for continuous speech recognition.
  • This allows Aido to listen to commands and parse them into instructions that Aido understands.

Aido can listen to voice commands and reply as well, perfect when you are busy with something else

While there has been great progress in voice recognition and response for smart devices, many of the interactions still come off with the device sounding robotic. Voice is a key part of personality, and we wanted Aido to sound as friendly as it is:

  • We broke down most commonly used sentences and phrases and created a library for these
  • We will have a voice artist render these, along with commonly used words
  • Aido will store a library of the words, phrases, sentences as well as the audio files
  • Aido will use these snippet in real time to talk back to the user
  • We expect we can cover most of the daily interactions this way. For the bits that we don’t have voice snippets for, we will use a standard text-to-speech engine.

Aido’s Connectivity

Aido supports Zigbee, DLNA, WiFi, Z-Wave, Bluetooth and IR.

Together, these let Aido communicate with over 10000 smart devices. New devices supporting these standards will automatically be compatible with Aido.

These also let Aido connect to your smart home security system and act as an interface to it.


Universal remote

Aido allows you to control thousands of devices by acting as a remote control. Once connected, you can issue voice commands to Aido to control the devices (eg: to turn down the volume of the TV)

  • • Aido uses an open database of over 1000 devices
  • • Aido’s IR blaster can mimic timings and signal codes for the remote controls of these devices
  • • In addition to this, Aido’s infrared blaster and receiver help Aido build a topographic map of the house with obstacles that Aido uses to navigate around the home

Remote operation

You can also use Aido’s app on your phone to check on devices at home when you’re out, or set your Netflix to download your favorite movie and schedule it for playback when you get home.

Aido can talk to various devices1, including:

  • CD changer
  • Laserdisc player
  • Amplifier
  • Tape deck
  • Game console
  • Computer
  • Light controller
  • Climate controller
  • Cable box
  • Satellite box
  • Smart Cookers
  • Refrigerator
  • Washing machine
  • stoves and more

Smarten up your home

Aido comes with an optional smart appliance kit allows you to control appliances that do not have interactive capabilities built in. Aido’s smart appliance kit consists of:

  • 3 smart plugs: Plug your appliance like an A/C or a water heater into the smart plug. Aido let’s you turn them on or off, schedule timings or set triggers.

For example, you can program Aido to turn on the water heater 10 minutes before your alarm goes off in the morning.

If you forget to turn it off, you can use the Aido app on your phone anytime and turn off the appliance.

  • 2 smart bulbs: Replace your regular bulbs with the smart bulbs, and control features like light dimming or turning lights on/off using Aido.

For example, you can program lights to dim automatically when you turn the TV on or after a certain time of the day.

Home Monitoring & Security

In our discussions and research, home security turned up as one of the key features people looked for in a home robotics solution. To enable this, we included a powerful set of sensors that include:

  • Air Quality
  • Temperature
  • Humidity
  • Noise
  • Light
  • Pressure
  • Gravity (4-axis G-sensor)

In addition to these, Aido has sophisticated image and scene recognition capabilities.

The output of the sensors can be used for incident alerts or task automation.

Incident alerts

If you set up a patrol path, Aido can periodically visit different rooms in your house and monitor data across the rooms.

You can set Aido to patrol your home when you aren’t around.

Aido can send you alerts on the companion Aido app for iPhone/Android or over email for:

  • Intruder detection
  • Smoke detection
  • When vital parameters at home like air quality go down
  • Noise detection
  • Sudden increase/decrease in humidity
  • Periodic updates during autonomous patrol

You can use the companion app to get Aido to send you pictures or videos of incidents as well.


Home automation

Aido comes with a visual drag-and-drop Task Automator.

In the Task Automator, Aido supports integration to:

  • All smart devices (Aido connects using Zigbee, BLE, Wi-Fi, Z-Wave or DLNA)
  • A vast suite of devices with an infrared remote control (including TV, microwaves, music systems, and more)
  • Integration of other appliances using the optional smart plugs (plug your water heater into the smart plug and control it using Aido)
  • Online services using IFTTT

With the Task Automator, you can:

  • Select predefined task flows from a large list of templates
  • Add and save your own template list
  • Share and download new task flows from the Android Store

Examples of actions include

  • Displaying an alert when you receive an email from a particular friend
  • Automatically project your news feed 10 minutes after your alarm goes off
  • Switch on lights if ambient lights are very low

Aido’s Task Automator allows you to create weekday, weekend or even holiday schedules.

How Aido finds his way around home

As humans, we quickly recognize furniture and step around it. We see pets moving and take care not to bump into them.

But come to robots, and this is a difficult task. Robots have no intuitive understanding of rooms, furniture or pets. They need to learn how to navigate around the home and avoid obstacles.

Aido handles navigation around the house using a mix of Wi-Fi fingerprinting (to identify where he is at home) and object recognition (for getting his bearings right and obstacle avoidance).

How Aido senses what’s in your home

  • During setup, Aido fingerprints Wi-Fi signal strength across the house as the primary marker to identify different rooms.
  • Aido also uses IR and object recognition to build a topographic map of your house, including elements like furniture, doors  & structure of rooms. These are stored in a navigation database.
  • Aido maintains these in a navigation database. Aido judges the space between obstacles, and if it is sufficient for him to traverse, will plot a path between them.

Image or object recognition is crucial for an autonomous robot like Aido. Aido needs to identify items when navigating and decide real time how to avoid them when it’s moving. Aido uses Uncanny vision’s offline image recognition library that lets it recognize over 3000 objects in under 200ms.

Aido uses Uncanny Vision’s offline image recognition library for recognizing everyday objects

Indoor navigation and obstacle avoidance

  • You can setup waypoints by taking Aido to various spots at home. For example, you can get Aido to your kitchen and mark a spot as ‘Kitchen’. Aido stores this entry with a Wi-Fi fingerprint.
  • Aido builds a path between waypoints to navigate. He judges the space between obstacles. If it is sufficient for him to traverse, he plots a path between them.
  • Aido constantly does a frame-by-frame evaluation for moving objects like pets or people. If Aido encounters a moving object, he waits for it to get out of the way before proceeding.
  • Aido has sophisticated edge detection built in that prevents it from spinning uselessly when he encounters an obstacle like a staircase.