- November 3, 2011
It’s The Great PumpkinBot, Charlie Brown
For Halloween, the CORAL Lab’s CoBot2 robot donned a pumpkin costume to deliver candy bars to 300 delighted denizens of floors 6-8 of the Gates and Hillman centers, stopping at open doors and saying “Knock knock” outside closed doors.
For CoBot, which has been running errands for people in the GHC for more than a month, assuming the role of Great PumpkinBot represented a new technical challenge, said Manuela Veloso, professor of computer science.
As ever, CoBot negotiated the hallways and elevators autonomously, asking people for assistance when it recognized it needed help. This “symbiotic autonomy,” the
concept of robots collaborating with humans to accomplish tasks, is a major
advance, Veloso said. In Halloween mode, however, CoBot wasn’t following
explicit instructions – such as, deliver item A from here to there. Instead, it
had to figure out a delivery route, determine which doors were open and, as it
made repeat trips, remember which offices it had missed on previous trips.
CoBots 1 and 2 continue to be available for errands and other tasks, though Veloso cautions that the hours they are available are irregular. To sign up or to schedule a task, visit http://neontetra.coral.cs.cmu.edu/cobot. In the past year, the robots have logged about 80 autonomous miles as they have traversed the GHC corridors, Veloso said.
About a dozen faculty, post-docs, and students work on the
CoBot project, Veloso said. Max Korein, a PhD student in robotics, created the
Halloween all-room visiting algorithm. Other students playing major roles
include Joydeep Biswas, a robotics PhD student who works on autonomous robot
localization and navigation, including Kinect-based vision, obstacle avoidance,
open-door detection; Brian Coltin, also a robotics PhD student, who works on
multi-task planning and scheduling and web-based user task scheduling; and Stephanie
Rosenthal, a PhD student in computer science, who works on symbiotic
About Carnegie Mellon:
Carnegie Mellon is a private research university with a
distinctive mix of programs in engineering, computer science, robotics, business,
public policy, fine arts and the humanities. More than 10,000 undergraduate and
graduate students receive an education characterized by its focus on creating
and implementing solutions for real problems, interdisciplinary collaboration,
and innovation. A small student-to-faculty ratio provides an opportunity for
close interaction between students and professors. While technology is pervasive
on its 144-acre Pittsburgh campus, Carnegie Mellon is also distinctive among
leading research universities for the world-renowned programs in its College of
Fine Arts. A global university, Carnegie Mellon has campuses in Silicon Valley, Calif.,
and Qatar, and programs in Asia, Australia and Europe.
For more, see www.cmu.edu