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.