Biorobotics Laboratory BioRob

Remote control of the Aibo camera from Webots

The goal of the project was to integrate camera support into Webots' remote control for Sony's Aibo robot. This means that the user should be able to either take a picture or to view a video stream in real time of what Aibo's camera captures.


Aibo is a four-legged robot in a shape of a dog produced by Sony. It mainly was conceived as an entertainement system. However, thanks to its many functionalities and computing power, it is a very interesting tool for research purposes. In particular, it has 18 servos representing articulations, various tactile, distance and acceleration sensors, a wireless LAN interface, microphones, a loudspeaker and... a camera.

Above all, Aibo is programmable. Sony provides a development kit called OPEN-R SDK.


Webots is a 3D mobile robots simulation software produced by Cyberbotics that was co-developed with the EPFL. Webots makes it possible to model and simulate any type of mobile robot in a realistic way.

In particular, Webots is shipped with several virtual worlds including a simulated model of Aibo. This model includes an remote control for Aibo. Thus, the movement and the position of each servo can be remotly controlled. This works as well with the simulation or a real Aibo. The commands are then sent over the wireless network connection.

In order to be able to interpret the orders sent, a software which awaits and understands those must run on Aibo. Such a program was developed at the BIRG by Lukas Hohl. This program (named RCServer) was written in the programming language of Aibo, OPEN-R, and works on a server principle to which a connects. This program and its protocol were extended in order to add the camera support.


The communication is achieved over the TCP/IP protocol. When the corresponding command is received, the image is copied to Aibo's RAM. In order to accelerate the sending of image, JPEG compression was added to the software running on the robot. Furthermore, the quality of compression can be chosen.

Contact persons

Supervisor: Olivier Michel, Cyberbotics Ltd.

Responsible Professor: Auke Jan Ijspeert, BIRG EPFL

Student:Raphaël Haberer-Proust, EPFL


Useful links

Some links to webpages with topics related to the project ones: