08. 21. 2023
9 min read

Autonomous Behavior: Doors

How we developed this behavior and acquired its patent

Last year we announced our first PFF smarts™ behavior, Doors, which allows gita robots to pass through a door threshold fully autonomously. When in Doors mode, gita robots recognize the opening of a door using their sensor vision, unpair with their leader to enter through the threshold on their own, and wait for their leader to pass through to then re-pair and continue on their journey. This seems like a simple movement, however a lot of research and development went into making this behavior possible. 

So how did we come up with this behavior? Well, our Smart Behaviors team couldn’t find much existing research on how people go through doors in couples (or in groups of 2), so they had to go out and collect observations themselves. The team simply went out into Boston - PFF’s home base - and watched people as they entered and exited shops.

After general discoveries about how people go through doors, the team recreated it in the PFF lab with a bunch of different doors that were put into the middle of our motion capture space. Then, they brought in 24 people who walked through the doors over 2,000 times to better understand and closely analyze the behavior. After analysis of the data, the team created a design for the way in which a "following robot" can do the same task. 

We are excited to say that developing this behavior was a success and PFF officially has a patent on this behavior! Getting a patent is serious business so we had to check to see if any other person or company has submitted any patent or intellectual property that is similar in nature. Spoiler alert: there’s rarely anything similar to what we’re doing which we think is pretty cool and speaks to the amazing things we do here at PFF.

In order to obtain the patent, the team then had to write a long and detailed report describing the behavior, what the benefits are, what gaps in current technology the patent is filling, how it improves the user experience, how copyable the behavior is, etc. Once complete, we send that report to our internal patent committee! The patent committee, if they see the value in the patent, will proceed with the patent application process.

During this process, the patent committee and the team who developed the patent met several times with patent attorneys who write up and submit the official patent application to the national authority (and any international authorities in whose regions they are interested filing the patent)

During this time, the group would meet occasionally to discuss any amendments we would like to make to the application. Then, after about a year, the national authorities authorize the patent under our company's name and we have our next behavioral patent!

We've already submitted a number of behavioral patents, and quite a few more are pending approval. Follow us on social media to keep up with all of our exciting developments and to be the first to hear about new products, behaviors, etc!

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