The Robotics Institute

Carnegie Mellon Robotics Institute

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Recent News
Girls of Steel Team Helps Construct Autodesk Robot
April 23, 2014. The robot-development skills of the Girls of Steel, a team of high-school-age girls from the Pittsburgh area, are being tested at the FIRST Robotics Competition Championship, April 23-26 in St. Louis, Mo. Several team members, however, already have put those skills to practical use in helping to build a robot for Autodesk, a leader in 3D design software.
Flight Test of Astrobotic Landing System Is Successful
April 14, 2014. Astrobotic Technology successfully tested the landing guidance system it will use to place a robot on the moon during a February test in the Mojave Desert aboard the Masten Aerospace Xombie, a vertical-takeoff, vertical-landing suborbital rocket.
New Research Project Applies Big Data Tools to Astrophysics
April 03, 2014. Like other scientists, astrophysicists first used computers as glorified calculators, but in the emerging era of Big Data, computers are poised to become true scientific partners. Automated tools being developed at Carnegie Mellon University in a new federally sponsored project could hasten that reality.
Surgical Snake Robot To Be Marketed in Europe
March 31, 2014. Medrobotics Corp. has announced it will begin limited marketing in Europe of a robot-assisted surgical device that is based on the snake robot research of Howie Choset, Carnegie Mellon University professor of robotics. The Flex System is a flexible endoscopic system that enables surgeons to access and visualize hard-to-reach anatomical locations.
Electric Garage Adds Tesla High-Power Charger for Public Use
March 31, 2014. A high-power wall connector for Tesla electric cars has been installed for public use at Carnegie Mellon University’s Electric Garage in Oakland, joining eight existing vehicle recharging stations. The garage at 4621 Forbes Ave. will host an open house to celebrate the addition from 4 to 7 p.m., April 4.
TIME Uses GigaPan for One World Trade Center Panorama
March 27, 2014. TIME magazine has employed the GigaPan technology developed by Carnegie Mellon University’s CREATE Lab and NASA to produce a breathtaking panorama from atop the country’s newest and tallest skyscraper, One World Trade Center.
Carlow Launches Satellite of Carnegie Mellon’s CREATE Lab
March 26, 2014. Carlow University has received a $205,000 grant commitment from the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation to establish a satellite on its campus of Carnegie Mellon University’s CREATE Lab. The satellite will join three previously established CREATE Lab satellites at Marshall University, West Virginia University and West Liberty University in West Virginia.
Robot Invites Humans to Play Mean Game of SCRABBLE
March 25, 2014. Carnegie Mellon University researchers have developed a SCRABBLE-playing robot to explore what will cause people to engage with robots for extended periods and to enjoy it. The project anticipates the day when humans and robots will interact routinely at work and at home.
Victor the Gamebot Hits Front Page of Wall Street Journal
March 17, 2014. Victor the Gamebot, who plays SCRABBLE and trashtalks with humans on the third floor of the Gates and Hillman centers, is the subject of a feature in the Wall Street Journal. Victor is the latest social robot developed under the leadership of Reid Simmons, research professor in the Robotics Institute.
Robot Butler Preparing For Stage Debut This Spring
March 05, 2014. HERB, the Home Exploring Robot Butler, is no thespian. He's a mobile, two-armed robot that serves as a testbed for software and technologies that will someday enable robots to assist people in their homes. Nevertheless, HERB will appear this spring in "All in the Timing," a collection of plays by David Ives, and ETC student Katie Correll is part of a team preparing the robot for his stage debut.
Time Lapse GigaPan Holds Promise for Plant Research
March 04, 2014. Research by scientists at the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Robotics Institute shows that high-resolution, time-lapse photography, such as GigaPan Time Machine, can help scientists study plant behavior over vast scales outside of the laboratory.
Astrobotic Qualifies for Milestone Funding From Google Lunar XPRIZE
February 19, 2014. Astrobotic Technology, which is attempting to win the Google Lunar XPRIZE in partnership with Carnegie Mellon University, has qualified for Milestone Prizes offered by the XPRIZE organization, which could net the team up to $1.75 million for reaching its objectives in three categories – Landing, Mobility, and Imaging. CMU will lead the effort in the Mobility category, which will demonstrate that the rover can survive the vacuum and extreme cold of the Moon, as well as show that it can complete and document a 500-meter traverse on the lunar surface.
The Robots That Saved Pittsburgh
February 04, 2014. "The Robots That Saved Pittsburgh," an article in the latest issue of Politico magazine, highlights the role of the Robotics Institute in the rebirth of Pittsburgh following the collapse of the steel industry.
Crowdsourced RNA Designs Outperform Computer Algorithms, Carnegie Mellon and Stanford Researchers Report
January 27, 2014. An enthusiastic group of non-experts, working through an online interface and receiving feedback from lab experiments, has produced designs for RNA molecules that are consistently more successful than those generated by the best computerized design algorithms, researchers at Carnegie Mellon University and Stanford University report. The research will be published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Online Early Edition.
Henry Ford Innovations Joins Quality of Life Technology Center
January 23, 2014. Henry Ford Innovations – a venture development business unit of the Henry Ford Health System – today announced it will partner with the Quality of Life Technology (QoLT) Center to develop new digital health solutions that aim to improve patient outcomes and the art of transitional care post-discharge.
Bio-Inspired Robotic Device Could Aid Ankle-Foot Rehabilitation
January 20, 2014. A soft, wearable device that mimics the muscles, tendons and ligaments of the lower leg could aid in the rehabilitation of patients with ankle-foot disorders such as drop foot, said Yong-Lae Park, an assistant professor of robotics at Carnegie Mellon University.
DARPA Selects Tartan Rescue Team For 2014 Robotics Challenge Funding
December 21, 2013. The Tartan Rescue Team from Carnegie Mellon University’s National Robotics Engineering Center ranked third among teams competing in the DARPA Robotics Challenge Trials this weekend in Homestead, Fla., and was selected by the agency as one of eight teams eligible for DARPA funding to prepare for next December’s Finals.
NSF Features CoBots on “Science Nation”
December 17, 2013. Collaborative robots, or CoBots, developed by Manuela Veloso and her Carnegie Mellon research team, have been running errands for occupants of the Gates and Hillman centers for more than two years. Now, they are the subject of a “Science Nation” video and special report by the National Science Foundation.
CMU Roboticists Join Team WRECS for DARPA Robotics Challenge
December 17, 2013. The Tartan Rescue Team and its CHIMP robot will be Carnegie Mellon University’s most visible presence at the DARPA Robotics Challenge (DRC) Trials in Homestead, Fla., Dec. 20-21, but CMU also will play an important role on a second participant, Team WRECS, based at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI). Chris Atkeson, professor of robotics, and 10 current or recent CMU grad students and postdocs, are part of WPI’s Robotics Engineering C Squad (WRECS).
CHIMP Robot Prepares For DARPA Robotics Challenge Trials
December 13, 2013. It’s only been a few weeks since Carnegie Mellon University’s National Robotics Engineering Center (NREC) completed assembly of its four-limbed CHIMP robot, but the Tartan Rescue Team has high hopes for the robot’s performance at the DARPA Robotics Challenge (DRC) Trials Dec. 20-21. “We’ve been on a fast track for the past year, doing detailed design and development of CHIMP at the same time as we were writing and testing its software on surrogate hardware,” said Tony Stentz, NREC director and leader of the Tartan Rescue Team.
Finches Take Flight
December 09, 2013. BirdBrain Technologies, a Carnegie Mellon University startup, has released a flock of its Finch robots for Computer Science Education Week, Dec. 9–15. Developed at the Robotics Institute, the low-cost, tabletop robots are on loan to educators across the U.S. who are using them to help get kids excited about computer programming.
Carnegie Mellon Leads Multi-University Project To Improve Web and Cloud Computing Accessibility
November 25, 2013. The U.S. Department of Education is sponsoring a five-year, $3.7 million project led by Carnegie Mellon University to develop methods that enable people with disabilities to take full advantage of the resources available on the Internet.
Computer Searches Web 24/7 To Analyze Images and Teach Itself Common Sense
November 20, 2013. A computer program called the Never Ending Image Learner (NEIL) is running 24 hours a day at Carnegie Mellon University, searching the Web for images, doing its best to understand them on its own and, as it builds a growing visual database, gathering common sense on a massive scale.
Dragan Receives Intel PhD Fellowship
November 05, 2013. Anca Dragan, a Ph.D student in the Robotics Institute since 2009, is one of 15 U.S. students chosen for the 2013-2014 Intel PhD Fellowship Program. She is a member of the Personal Robotics Laboratory led by Sidd Srinivasa, associate professor of robotics.
Curiosity Completes Two-Day Drive Using CMU Navigation Software
October 31, 2013. Using autonomous navigation software first developed at Carnegie Mellon University’s Robotics Institute, NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity this week completed its first two-day autonomous drive, a new technique that enables the mobile laboratory to cover ground faster.
Making Robots More Like Us: CoBot
October 29, 2013. Manuela Veloso, professor of computer science, talked with the New York Times' John Markoff about her CoBots and how they are part of a new breed of robots built to interact with people. Markoff included her views in his article, "Marking Robots More Like Us."
Story Collider Podcast Features Victor Hwang
October 28, 2013. Story Collider, a national storytelling project, has posted a podcast featuring Victor Hwang, a masters student in the Robotics Institute, talking about his experience preparing computer code for a NASA spacecraft. He was one of five Carnegie Mellon students to share their stories about science at an Oct. 21 show at the Rex Theater sponsored by Story Collider and Public Communication for Researchers.
CMU and Buffalo Researchers Improving Transportation Access for People With Disabilities
October 28, 2013. Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University and the University at Buffalo, State University of New York, are collaborating on a five-year, $4.6 million federally funded project to advance physical access and public transportation for people with disabilities by bringing together computer science technology and the principles of universal design.
The Verge Visits "Robot City"
October 24, 2013. The website The Verge recently visited Pittsburgh to find out why it has become the Robot City. The site has now posted an article and a video Robot City: How the Machines Are Driving Pittsburgh's Future, which includes interviews with Sidd Srinivasa, Red Whittaker, Howie Choset and other members of the Robotics Institute.
CMU Receives $7 Million for National Robotics Initiative Projects
October 24, 2013. Robotic rotorcraft for inspecting bridges and other infrastructure, tools for minimally invasive surgery that guide surgeons by creating 3D maps of internal organs and assistive robots for blind travelers are among seven new Carnegie Mellon University research projects sponsored through the National Robotics Initiative.
Popular Mechanics Names RI’s Michael Among “Innovators Who Changed the World”
October 14, 2013. Nathan Michael, assistant research professor of robotics, was part of a team at Penn cited by Popular Mechanics as one of “Ten Innovators Who Changed The World in 2013.” The Penn team, led by Vijay Kumar, is developing tiny quadrotors that can autonomously fly in squadrons to map and assess dangerously compromised buildings.
CMU Robotics Kits To Be Integrated Into PA, WV Middle Schools
October 07, 2013. An innovative program that introduces robotic technology into non-technical middle school classes will be used by suburban Pittsburgh and rural West Virginia schools in a federally funded research project to identify and nurture students with an affinity for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
A Pressure and Strain Sensor Fabricated on Soft Artificial Skin
October 03, 2013.
Multiplexed Force and Deflection Sensing Shell Membranes for Robotic Manipulators
October 03, 2013.
BirdBrain Offers to Loan 1,000 Robots to K-12 Students
September 12, 2013. BirdBrain Technologies, a Pittsburgh startup that commercializes projects developed by Carnegie Mellon University’s CREATE Lab, will loan 1,000 of its Finch robots to school districts or educational groups during Computer Science Education Week (CSEdWeek), Dec. 8-14.
Former Robotics Faculty Member Doug James Wins Katayanagi Prize
August 26, 2013. Former Robotics Institute faculty member Doug L. James and Stanford University's Pat Hanrahan, computer scientists whose innovations in computer graphics have enhanced such movies as “Avatar,” “Hugo,” “The Dark Knight,” “Finding Nemo” and “Star Trek,” are each recipients this year of Katayanagi Prizes in Computer Science.
Wilkinsburg students to screen documentary on their town
August 22, 2013. The CREATE Lab’s Hear Me 101 project this summer helped Wilkinsburg students produce a short documentary, “Wilkinsburg: The Way We See It,” which the students will screen at 6 p.m. Monday at Hosanna House, 807 Wallace Ave., Wilkinsburg.
HERB Wins Top Honors at Robot Film Festival
July 29, 2013. “Do Robots Dream of Cookies?” a video starring the Robotics Institute’s HERB, the Home Exploring Robot Butler, won top honors at the Robot Film Festival July 20-21 in San Francisco. The video features HERB’s newly acquired ability to separate Oreo cookies and was created as an online component of this year’s “Cookie vs. Creme” advertising campaign for the popular brand.
Six Months of CPU Time Yields Detailed Portrait of Cloth Behavior
July 23, 2013. It would be impossible to compute all of the ways a piece of cloth might shift, fold and drape over a moving human figure. But after six months of computation, researchers at Carnegie Mellon University and the University of California, Berkeley, are pretty sure they’ve simulated almost every important configuration of that cloth. This presents a new paradigm for computer graphics, in which it will be possible to provide real-time simulation for virtually any complex phenomenon, whether it’s a naturally flowing robe or a team of galloping horses.
CMU and Microsoft Scientists Use Mobile Games to Generate Drawing Database
July 22, 2013. The fingers of thousands of people who created sketches of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie on their iPhones can collectively guide and correct the drawing strokes of subsequent touchscreen users in an application created by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University and Microsoft Research. The app compensates for the “fat finger” problem associated with touchscreens, automatically correcting a person’s drawing strokes while preserving the user’s artistic style.