The Robotics Institute

Carnegie Mellon Robotics Institute

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Recent News
CoBots Reach 1,000-Kilometer Milestone of Autonomous Operation
November 25, 2014. For three years, a group of robots, known as CoBots, has been navigating the corridors of Carnegie Mellon University’s Gates and Hillman centers and Newell-Simon Hall, running errands and guiding visitors without human supervision. On Nov. 18, their collective odometer reached 1,000 kilometers — more than 620 miles — a first-ever accomplishment for indoor autonomous robots.
Carnegie Mellon Unveils Lunar Rover “Andy”
November 24, 2014. Carnegie Mellon University today unveiled Andy, a four-wheeled robot designed to scramble up steep slopes and survive the temperature swings and high radiation encountered while exploring the moon’s pits, caves and polar ice.
Job With a Twist
November 17, 2014. Stephen Smith has found a twist to a sticky situation. A systems engineer who is studying in the Master of Science Robotics Systems Development program, he already has started one company and hopes to revolutionize the food industry by making it easier to clean out peanut butter jars and other food containers.
Robotics Institute Projects Win "Best of What's New" Honors
November 12, 2014. Four inventions that trace their origins to the School of Computer Science and, particularly, the Robotics Institute, have been honored by Popular Science's annual Best of What’s New Awards. This year’s winners, published in the magazine’s December issue now on sale, include the Flex System, a neck surgery tool based on snake robot research; 360fly, a panoramic video camera; and 3D Object Manipulation Software, a photo editing tool.
Martial Hebert Named Director of Robotics Institute
November 06, 2014. Martial Hebert, a leading researcher in computer vision and robotics at Carnegie Mellon University since 1984, will become director of the university’s Robotics Institute, effective as of Nov. 15, School of Computer Science Dean Andrew W. Moore announced.
Robotics Institute's Inflatable Robotic Arm Inspires Design of Disney’s Latest Character
October 29, 2014. The pivotal character in Disney's new animated feature, "Big Hero 6," is a balloon-like robot called Baymax that was inspired by an inflatable robotic arm developed at the Robotics Institute. Soft robotics is a growing field of research at Carnegie Mellon University and beyond.
Snakes and Snake-like Robots Show How Sidewinders Conquer Sandy Slopes
October 09, 2014. The amazing ability of sidewinder snakes to quickly climb sandy slopes was once something biologists only vaguely understood and roboticists only dreamed of replicating. By studying the snakes in a unique bed of inclined sand and using a snake-like robot to test ideas spawned by observing the real animals, both biologists and roboticists have now gained long-sought insights.
Smart Headlights Spare the Eyes of Oncoming Drivers
September 09, 2014. A smart headlight developed at Carnegie Mellon University’s Robotics Institute enables drivers to take full advantage of their high beams without fear of blinding oncoming drivers or suffering from the glare that can occur when driving in snow or rain at night.
Photo Editing Tool Enables Object Images To Be Manipulated in 3-D
August 05, 2014. Editors of photos routinely resize objects, or move them up, down or sideways, but Carnegie Mellon University researchers are adding an extra dimension to photo editing by enabling editors to turn or flip objects any way they want, even exposing surfaces not visible in the original photograph.
Panoptic Studio Combines Hundreds of Videos To Reconstruct 3D Motion
July 17, 2014. Robotics Institute researchers have developed techniques for combining the views of 480 video cameras mounted in a two-story geodesic dome to perform large-scale 3D motion reconstruction, including volleyball games, the swirl of air currents and even a cascade of confetti.
Shrivastava Named 2014 Microsoft Research PhD Fellow
June 30, 2014. Abhinav Shrivastava, a PhD student in robotics, is one of a dozen computer science, electrical engineering and mathematics students who are 2014 recipients of the Microsoft Research PhD Fellowship.
Gupta Awarded Bosch Young Faculty Fellowship
June 30, 2014. Abhinav Gupta, assistant research professor in the Robotics Institute, is the recipient of a Bosch Young Faculty Fellowship to support his research on computer vision and large-scale visual learning.
CMU Spinoff Astrobotic Successfully Tests Visually Guided Rocket Landing System
June 26, 2014. Robotics Institute spinoff Astrobotic Technology and Masten Space Systems say a computer vision and navigation system developed by Astrobotic successfully landed Masten’s Xombie vertical-takeoff vertical-landing suborbital rocket at the Mojave Air and Space Port in California.
Bagnell Receives Okawa Research Grant
June 25, 2014. Drew Bagnell, associate professor of robotics, is among the latest recipients of the Okawa Research Grant, which is awarded by the Okawa Foundation for Information and Telecommunications.
Carnegie Mellon Takes Congress for A Ride in Self-Driving Car
June 24, 2014. Carnegie Mellon University has brought its autonomous vehicle to Washington, D.C., to enable Congress to experience the technology up close and personal. CMU will provide up to 40 members of Congress the opportunity to ride the vehicle around Washington.
A Robot Practices His Moves
June 18, 2014. One lesson to be drawn from the stage debut of HERB, an acronym for Home Exploring Robot Butler, might be summarized by paraphrasing a legendary theatrical quote: “A system crash is easy. Comedy is hard.” The May 1 performance of David Ives’ “Sure Thing” by HERB and his human co-star, drama major Olivia Brown (A’15), was well-received by the audience. If not flawless, it at least generated laughs in all of the right places. But creating those 12 minutes of thespian magic in the Helen Wayne Rauh Studio Theatre required months of preparation by an ad hoc team of researchers and students from the Robotics Institute and the School of Drama.
Robotics Takes Center Stage at LaunchCMU
June 13, 2014. LaunchCMU's latest cycle shone a bright light on how robotics technology originating at Carnegie Mellon University is making a successful impact in the marketplace. The Silicon Valley showcase of cutting-edge technology, research and innovation brought together venture capitalists, investment experts, CMU startups, faculty and alumni.
Alum Daniel Wilson’s “Robopocalypse” Sequel Now on Sale
June 10, 2014. “Robogenesis,” the latest novel from Robotics Institute Ph.D. alumnus Daniel H. Wilson, the latest novel from Robotics Institute Ph.D. alumnus Daniel H. Wilson, has debuted to positive reviews, with Boing Boing describing it as “a terrifying and technologically rigorous sequel” to his earlier bestseller, “Robopocalypse.”
NREC and Sikorsky Will Pair Unmanned Ground Vehicle with Autonomous Helicopter
June 03, 2014. Carnegie Mellon University’s National Robotics Engineering Center (NREC) and Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. are working with the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC) to show that an autonomous helicopter and a driverless ground vehicle can work together to autonomously survey a contaminated site.
Autonomous Airboats Monitor Hippo Dung in Kenya’s Mara River Basin
May 22, 2014. Small, autonomous airboats, disguised to look like crocodiles, helped scientists measure water quality this spring in Kenya’s Mara River. An estimated 4,000 hippos use the river as a toilet with potentially deadly effects for fish living downriver. The airboats, developed by the Robotics Institute and operated by a CMU spinoff, Platypus LLC, skimmed over the surface of several hippopotamus pools in the river, where they scanned the river bottom for deposits of hippo dung and made various measurements of water quality.
Astrobotic To Develop Autonomous Landing Capability for Sample Return Missions
May 13, 2014. Robotics Institute spin-off Astrobotic Technology will develop the capability to perform autonomous, controlled landings on the Moon, Mars, and asteroids under the terms of a new Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
Seegrid Hires MRSD Interns as Full-time Employees
May 12, 2014. Seegrid Corporation, the leader in vision-guided automated guided vehicles (AGVs), recently expanded its staff to meet product demand, hiring two Carnegie Mellon interns as full-time employees.
Chicago Public Library Lending 500 Finch Robots
May 12, 2014. Five hundred Finch robots, developed by the Robotics Institute's CREATE Lab and marketed by BirdBrain Technologies, are now available for lending from the Chicago Public Library, thanks to a donation by Google Chicago in support of computer programming education.
Interactive Map Shows Income Inequality Using “Capital in the 21st Century” Data
May 07, 2014. Readers of the provocative bestseller “Capital in the 21st Century,” who want to take a closer look at the income database analyzed by economist and author Thomas Piketty can take advantage of a new online tool, Explorable Inequality, created by the Robotics Institute's CREATE Lab.
NASA Chooses Astrobotic for Lunar Lander Initiative
May 01, 2014. Astrobotic Technology, a spinoff from Carnegie Mellon, has been selected as one of three companies that will partner with NASA to develop reliable and cost-effective lunar landing capabilities as part of the Lunar Cargo Transportation and Landing by Soft Touchdown (CATALYST) initiative.
Timelapse Wins Webby
April 29, 2014. Timelapse, the project from Time magazine that uses Carnegie Mellon's GigaPan Time Machine technology to explore 30 years of Landsat imagery of Earth, has won the People's Choice Award for Best Use of Video or Moving Image in the 2014 Webby Award Competition. The Webbys are international awards for excellence on the Internet.
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.
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.