AI News, The Results Are In: PR2 Beta Program Recipients!

The Results Are In: PR2 Beta Program Recipients!

Submitted by admin on Tue, 05/04/2010 - 07:00 With so many great proposals, it seemed a shame to give out only ten robots, so we made it a round eleven.

We were thrilled to see a wide range of proposed research and application areas, and had a difficult time selecting only ten of the proposals -- even eleven was difficult.

The PR2 Beta Program is a two-year commitment during which the selected institutions will pursue their various research goals and regularly meet to explore new applications together.

The PR2 Beta is a robust and capable robot platform with a mobile base, two arms for manipulation, a rich sensor suite, and sixteen CPU cores for computation.

Each PR2 Beta comes with the free and open source ROS robotics framework that offers full control of the PR2, including autonomous navigation, manipulation, and perception libraries.

Their group will program the PR2 to do tidy-up tasks like clearing a table, while working on difficult underlying capabilities, like understanding how drawers and refrigerators open, how to recognize different types of objects, and how to integrate this information with the robot's map.

Their research includes creating easier ways for adults to interact with robots, and enabling robots to interact with everyday objects like drawers, lamps, and light switches.

MIT CSAIL with the proposal Mobile Manipulation in Human-Centered Environments The diverse MIT CSAIL group will use the PR2 to study the key capabilities needed by robots that operate in human-centered environments, such as safe navigation, interaction with humans via natural language, object recognition, and planning for complex goals.

Their team will work on several applications, which include taking inventory, retrieving items scattered about a building, and clearing a table after a meal.

Technische Universität München with the proposal CRAM: Cognitive Robot Abstract Machine TUM will research giving the PR2 the artificial intelligence skills and 3D perception to reason about what it is doing while it performs various kitchen tasks.

These combined improvements will help the PR2 perform more complicated tasks like setting a table, emptying a dishwasher, preparing meals, and other kitchen-related tasks.

Their contributions will include giving PR2 a tool belt to change its gripper on the fly, helping it track and navigate around people, and performing difficult two-arm tasks like opening spring-loaded doors.

They will continue to expand on this work in imitation learning and building and refining skill libraries, while also doing research in human-robot interaction and self-calibration for sensors.

Breaking News: Willow Garage Announces 11 Winners for its Robot Give Away

While they originally conceived of parting with just ten of their unique open source PR2 platforms, Willow Garage had such an amazing pool of formal proposals (78 in total) that they had to crank it up to eleven.

For the next 24 months, or so, these institutions will use the PR2 to develop ground breaking software and, because all of it will be shared via open source licenses, that code will be available to robots everywhere via ROS.

Not only are they fomenting the development of open source code, they are actively giving researchers world-class hardware to test and refine that code.

Here’s the official list of PR2 Beta recipients: Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg with the proposal TidyUpRobot Bosch with the proposal Developing the Personal Robotics Market: Enabling New Applications Through Novel Sensors and Shared Autonomy Georgia Institute of Technology with the proposal Assistive Mobile Manipulation for Older Adults at Home Katholieke Universiteit Leuven with the proposal Unified Framework for Task Specification, Control and Coordination for Mobile Manipulation MIT CSAIL with the proposal Mobile Manipulation in Human-Centered Environments Stanford University with the proposal STAIR on PR2 Technische Universität München with the proposal CRAM: Cognitive Robot Abstract Machine University of California, Berkeley with the proposal PR2 Beta Program: A Platform for Personal Robotics University of Pennsylvania, GRASP Laboratory with the proposal PR2GRASP: From Perception and Reasoning to Grasping University of Southern California with the proposal Persistent and Persuasive Personal Robots (P^3R): Towards Networked, Mobile, Assistive Robotics University of Tokyo, Jouhou System Kougaku (JSK) Robotics Laboratory with the proposal Autonomous Motion Planning for Daily Tasks in Human Environments using Collaborating Robots You’ll notice that four of these eleven groups are international.

Even those projects which do not expressly propose to interact in the people-sphere are aimed towards creating robust and practical applications that will serve humans well.

Willow Garage did say that they received some great letters of intent (the first round of applications) from groups that were off the radar, but that few, if any, had the resources available to create the formal proposal.

UPenn is also working on some hardware adjustments, looking to develop a system by which the PR2 could change its claw to various auxiliary appendages carried in a toolkit on the robot.

I’m personally excited to see how UC Berkeley will build on previous work with towel folding – their proposal calls for the PR2 robot to do a full load of laundry, assemble furniture from IKEA, and to learn a task by watching (as we’ve seen with other robot platforms).

The code produced will be shared with the greater open source community, just as these researchers form tighter collaborations amongst themselves.

In a way, this project isn’t simply building the next round of software for robots, it’s helping to create the next generation of robotics engineers with first hand experience of the advantages of open source.

Of course, for those of us looking to the future, it’s not enough to simply anticipate the next round of technological innovations, we must also try to understand the mechanics that shape those innovations.

Part 2 of 2: JSK: Autonomous Motion Planning for Daily Tasks in Human Environments

Kei Okada presents the University of Tokyo, JSK Lab's proposal for the PR2 Beta Program.

KULeuven: Unified framework for task specification, control and coordination for mobile manipulation

Koen Buys of KULeuven presents their proposal for the PR2 Beta Program.

Part 1 of 2: JSK: Autonomous Motion Planning for Daily Tasks in Human Environments

Kei Okada presents the University of Tokyo, JSK Lab's proposal for the PR2 Beta Program.

Part 2 of 2: Stanford: STAIR on PR2

Morgan Quigley and Adam Leeper present Stanford's proposal for the PR2 Beta Program.

Part 1 of 2: Bosch: Developing the Personal Robotics Market

Jan Becker presents Bosch's proposal for the PR2 Beta Program.

Part 1 of 2: Penn: PR2GRASP: From Perception and Reasoning to Grasping

Ben Cohen, Mike Phillips, Cody Phillips, and Soonkyum Kim of the GRASP Lab at Penn present their proposal for the PR2 Beta Program.

MIT: Mobile Manipulation in Human-Centered Environments

(Apologies for bad initial audio) Members from the MIT present their proposal for the PR2 Beta Program.

Part 1 of 2: Georgia Tech: Assistive Mobile Manipulation for Older Adults at Home

Charlie Kemp presents Georgia Tech's proposal for the PR2 Beta Program to the rest of the PR2 Beta Program participants.

Teleoperation of Baxter Robot using Kinect

In this work, we use Kinect Xbox 360 sensor to implement the motion control of Baxter robot, a semi humanoid robot with limbs of 7 DOF joints with collision avoidance capabilities. Two different...

Interacting with simulated PR2's world