The roboticists at the University of Pennsylvania’s GRASP Lab have done some truly great things, from flying tricks with aerobatic quadcopters to programming their PR2 to read. And now this: PR2 as pooper scooper.
The project is called Perception Of Offensive Products and Sensorized Control Of Object Pickup, or POOP SCOOP, and it focuses on teaching a PR2 robot to recognize and handle POOPs, or Potentially Offensive Objects for Pickup. Including actual poop. This research was presented at IROS 2011, and comes to our attention via IEEE's Automaton blog, home to many an awesome PR2 video.
Researchers at the GRASP lab programmed their PR2, previously nicknamed Graspy, to carefully find and pick up all POOPs in a given field, researcher Ben Cohen explains in the video below. It will find all the POOP, go to each one, and pick it up and put it in a bucket. The PR2 is capable of sensing whether it has successfully dropped the POOP in the bucket.
Along with fetching food and drinks and folding our laundry, this accomplishment solidifies PR2’s place as the best domestic robot helper imaginable. Let’s just hope Graspy does not tire of these proletarian chores, especially now that it has become literate. Experiments in robot subjugation will surely end if it ever reads Marx.