Microsoft Demos Eddie Robot With Party Photo App

Watch Microsoft's new hobby platform stalk hapless humans with a camera in this demo from the MS Robotics developer team

1 min read
Microsoft Demos Eddie Robot With Party Photo App

Microsoft has followed up their recent release of Robotics Developer Studio 4 and the Parallax Eddie platform with this demo showing how Eddie can be programmed to be an autonomous party photographer, aka "Roborazzi." I'd tell you all about it myself, but wouldn't you rather hear it from the dude who actually put the project together? Sure you would!

Not a bad demo, really. It's a nice way to leverage what Kinect is best at (people tracking), and the camera integration makes it handy to have around for all of those wild parties that you've never invited me to. Oh well, I guess now I can at least watch it all on Flickr. :(

Via [ Microsoft Robotics Blog ]

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Robot with threads near a fallen branch

RoMan, the Army Research Laboratory's robotic manipulator, considers the best way to grasp and move a tree branch at the Adelphi Laboratory Center, in Maryland.

Evan Ackerman
LightGreen

This article is part of our special report on AI, “The Great AI Reckoning.

"I should probably not be standing this close," I think to myself, as the robot slowly approaches a large tree branch on the floor in front of me. It's not the size of the branch that makes me nervous—it's that the robot is operating autonomously, and that while I know what it's supposed to do, I'm not entirely sure what it will do. If everything works the way the roboticists at the U.S. Army Research Laboratory (ARL) in Adelphi, Md., expect, the robot will identify the branch, grasp it, and drag it out of the way. These folks know what they're doing, but I've spent enough time around robots that I take a small step backwards anyway.

The robot, named RoMan, for Robotic Manipulator, is about the size of a large lawn mower, with a tracked base that helps it handle most kinds of terrain. At the front, it has a squat torso equipped with cameras and depth sensors, as well as a pair of arms that were harvested from a prototype disaster-response robot originally developed at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory for a DARPA robotics competition. RoMan's job today is roadway clearing, a multistep task that ARL wants the robot to complete as autonomously as possible. Instead of instructing the robot to grasp specific objects in specific ways and move them to specific places, the operators tell RoMan to "go clear a path." It's then up to the robot to make all the decisions necessary to achieve that objective.

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