Is there anything you and I can do that Willow Garage’s PR2 can’t do more adorably? PR2 is now learning how to bake chocolate chip cookies from scratch courtesy of MIT. Swathed in a smock to keep it from getting itself messy--the table was not so lucky--PR2 demonstrates an ability to properly combine ingredients and mix them up in the video below.
The idea was to create a simple introductory project for PR2 and those students and grad students working on it, but baking turns out to be quite a trial for the robot. But it’s also been a valuable learning experience for all involved. In order to execute the chocolate chip cookie recipe--an relatively simple one to wrap the human mind around--engineers there had to program PR2 to follow a lengthy progression of tasks while integrating various aspects of robotics like computer vision, highly-controlled motions, and object detection.
As you’ll see, PR2 takes a moment to orient itself and locate everything on the table bu color and size using its laser scanner and stereo camera. I then sets about combining everything in sequence and--somewhat sloppily--gets to mixing. But don’t sweat the mess. A team of undergraduates is working to program PR2 to wipe down the table afterward.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.