Video: Robot Roommates Prepare and Serve a German Sausage Breakfast

Rosie the robot waits for the sausages to be cooked before taking them out of the water and serving them. TUM

Our favorite robot is learning to shop for, prepare and serve entire meals — from cookies to a round of beers and now, breakfast. In this latest robot-cook experiment, PR2 gets some help from a German ‘bot named Rosie, and the pair serves up a traditional Bavarian sausage breakfast.

Researchers at Technical University Munich built a kitchen for Rosie and their PR2, nicknamed James, and the two previously learned how to make pancakes. The goal is to test how well the robots’ perception and control mechanisms can be generalized, because they share the same operating system and visual-detection systems via the Xbox Kinect.

In the first part of the video, James goes grocery shopping in a lab set up by the CoTeSys (Cognition for Technical Systems) research cluster. He brings the ingredients to Rosie, who is already boiling the Weisswurst, waiting for the sausages to cook before taking them out of the water and placing them in bowls. Then the PR2 slices bread and serves breakfast to a group of robotics engineers. Mysteriously, the meal lacks a glass of hefeweizen, a gross oversight given the PR2’s known beer-grabbing abilities.

Rosie uses the Kinect and perception algorithms to use the skimmer, and learns 3-D models for the pot of water and the serving bowls so she can find them no matter where the PR2 sets them down. James also uses the Kinect to detect a bread slicer and a baguette, which he prepares to serve with the sausages. In the course of making breakfast, the robots learn from their mistakes and improve their abilities, as a news release from TUM explains. The software and algorithms used in this demonstration will be available to other TUM researchers.

Watch their culinary skills in action, accompanied by appropriately German-sounding club music.

IEEE Spectrum