Carnegie Mellon University Robotics Institute Homepage

Carnegie Mellon University Robotics Institute Research Guide

Carnegie Mellon University, Robotics Institute, Research Guide


We have created a new effort at CMU/RI in the area of Humanoids ( Our goal is both to create more useful service robots, and to understand how people work. There are several reasons the humanoids effort fits CMU:

An overview of the relevant faculty working in the area of humanoids, includes:

The humanoids effort across the RI has also been able to create a range of laboratory resources. With equipment funding from the NSF, it purchased a Sarcos humanoid robot and a Shadow hand. With startup funds it purchased an instrumented treadmill for gait studies. The various programs are also able to take advantage of substantial motion capture facilities available to support human and robot studies. Veloso has seven Nao humanoids, and is looking for support to expand that to approximately 30 robots for both research and education in HRI and multi-robot systems. The group can also draw on several platforms for human robot studies, including the Cobot systems and Snackbot.

Faculty active in the area of humanoids have also created courses that support their effort. At the undergraduate level, a new course was created, namely 16-264: Humanoids (a survey course using humanoid robots to introduce students to a wide range of robotics areas), and 15-491: CMRobotBits: Creating Intelligent Robots (CS) (a project course using the NAO humanoid robots). At the graduate level, both 16-899A: Hands: Design and Control for Dexterous Manipulation, and 16-899B: Biomechanics and Motor Control, and 16-899E Legged Locomotion, were created and have been taught on a continuing basis.

Many students active in the area of humanoids graduated from RI and have gone on to good jobs in both academia and industry. Assistant Professors include Mike Stilman (Georgia Tech), Jonathan Hurst (Oregon State), and Bilge Mutlu (University of Wisconsin); Joel Chestnutt is finishing up a postdoc at the Digital Human Research Center in Japan and moving to Boston Dynamics. Marek Michalowski has started a company BeatBots; Rosen Diankov is doing a postdoc at the JSK Robotics Lab, University of Tokyo; Lillian Chang is in a postdoc position at Intel Research Seattle and the University of Washington; Martin Stolle is working for Google in Zurich.

In order to bolster their biomechanic and humanoid area, RI recently hired Hartmut Geyer, while the Mechanical Engineering Department at CMU hired Steve Collins. This greatly increases RI's strength in bio-inspired robotics and our effort to understand and help people. Our hiring strategy is opportunistic, taking advantage of who is available. We feel this is a good way to find ‘rarely-surfacing' faculty-worthy ‘gems'. We are on the lookout in particular areas that have broad applicability, such as skin. We envision a future where our robots, our furniture, and our environments all have rich tactile sensing and potentially novel forms of surface actuation.

RI has also provided service to the humanoids community, by such as activities as hosting the IEEE-RAS International Conference on Humanoid Robots while also serving in various organizing roles over the years, and helping found the Dynamic Walking Conference. We also expect to continue to grow and successfully synergize with the rest of the Robotics Institute, particularly the Quality of Life Engineering Research Center.

Continue Reading: Human-Robot Interaction


  1. Christopher

  2. Steve

  3. Hartmut

  4. Martial

  5. Jessica

  6. Ralph

  7. Takeo

  8. Nancy

  9. Paul

  10. Reid

  11. Manuela

Project Images

  • Push Recovery

  • Coupled Systems Control for Human Walking

  • BallBot

  • Humanoid Soccer League Team

  • Bio-Inspired Gait Control

  • HERB - Robotic Home Butler

  • Grasping and hand-off

  • Ankle for Energy Recovery Based Walking