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PR2 Robot Learning To Bake Cookies, Humanity Surrenders to Yumminess

Everyone lucky enough to own a PR2 will soon be able to push a single button and have their robot bake them a fresh batch of cookies

1 min read
PR2 makes cookies
Image: MIT

This is PR2. PR2 plays pool. PR2 brings you beer. And now, or very soon anyway, PR2 will bake you cookies. Warm, gooey, chocolate chip cookies. Seriously, is this not the greatest robot in the world or what?

This video comes from graduate student Mario Bollini, who's a member of Daniela Rus' Distributed Robotics Lab at MIT CSAIL. It's not in the video, but as you can see from the picture, PR2 (or "bakebot" for the purposes of this demo) is also able to cream butter and sugar, and we already know that it can break (or not break) eggs. It does make a bit of a mess, which is the reason for the surgical smock, but a separate group is programming the robot to wipe down the table afterwards. Incidentally, I love how when PR2 finishes adding an ingredient to its mixing bowl, it just drops the container on the floor. Now that's my kind of clean-up.

Bollini hopes to have PR2 making cookies from start to finish within the shockingly short time of a month. Or actually, it'll be just making one single giant cookie at a time, but you know what, I'm totally okay with that. 

[ MIT ]

The Conversation (0)

The Bionic-Hand Arms Race

The prosthetics industry is too focused on high-tech limbs that are complicated, costly, and often impractical

12 min read
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A photograph of a young woman with brown eyes and neck length hair dyed rose gold sits at a white table. In one hand she holds a carbon fiber robotic arm and hand. Her other arm ends near her elbow. Her short sleeve shirt has a pattern on it of illustrated hands.

The author, Britt Young, holding her Ottobock bebionic bionic arm.

Gabriela Hasbun. Makeup: Maria Nguyen for MAC cosmetics; Hair: Joan Laqui for Living Proof
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In Jules Verne’s 1865 novel From the Earth to the Moon, members of the fictitious Baltimore Gun Club, all disabled Civil War veterans, restlessly search for a new enemy to conquer. They had spent the war innovating new, deadlier weaponry. By the war’s end, with “not quite one arm between four persons, and exactly two legs between six,” these self-taught amputee-weaponsmiths decide to repurpose their skills toward a new projectile: a rocket ship.

The story of the Baltimore Gun Club propelling themselves to the moon is about the extraordinary masculine power of the veteran, who doesn’t simply “overcome” his disability; he derives power and ambition from it. Their “crutches, wooden legs, artificial arms, steel hooks, caoutchouc [rubber] jaws, silver craniums [and] platinum noses” don’t play leading roles in their personalities—they are merely tools on their bodies. These piecemeal men are unlikely crusaders of invention with an even more unlikely mission. And yet who better to design the next great leap in technology than men remade by technology themselves?

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