A social robot being developed by Sara Kiesler and Jodi Forlizzi of the Human-Computer Interaction Institute and Paul Rybski of the Robotics Institute is one of eight Human-Robot Interaction RFP proposals selected by Microsoft External Research to share $500,000 in funding.
When finished, Snackbot will roam the halls of Newell-Simon and Wean halls selling snacks. It is intended to bridge the gap between social robots that interact with people in a natural way – but often are immobile – and autonomous mobile robots that can move around but generally are not social. The National Science Foundation also has sponsored work on Snackbot.
“Microsoft Research is thrilled to support Carnegie Mellon University Professors Forlizzi and Kiesler in their research of mobile social robots,” said Sailesh Chutani, senior director, Microsoft Research. “Their innovative research approach to human-robot interaction is expected to have a valuable, lasting impact on the robotics community as well as the field of computer science as a whole, and our senior research program manager, Stewart Tansley, looks forward to a successful partnership .”
Microsoft Research’s Human-Robot Interaction RFP focuses attention on the general paradigm shift from “robots as tools” to “social robots,” and considers HRI in context of the existence of many other computing devices deployed in the modern human environment, including PCs, Smartphones and the World Wide Web.
Along with funding, Microsoft is making available a large range of applicable advanced software development technologies for such research. This includes the Microsoft Robotics Studio with its large library of robot services.