We have created a new effort at CMU/RI in the area of Humanoids (www.humanoids.cs.cmu.edu). 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:
- We have a critical mass of researchers interested in this area,
- We have substantial contributions from related areas (vision, learning, HRI, QoLT, etc.), and
- We have a good relationship with Disney Research Pittsburgh (Disney is one of the largest users of humanoid robots in the U.S., if not the world).
An overview of the relevant faculty working in the area of humanoids, includes:
- Atkeson explores robot learning and optimization-based approaches to dynamic movement planning.
- Collins is exploring human and robot legged behavior.
- Forlizzi is developing design methods for assistive robots.
- Geyer is developing models of human motor control and exploring their application to robots.
- Hebert is enabling humanoids to see and perform visually-guided movement.
- Hodgins is working on human-like movement in animation and robotics. She also works on human-robot interaction and perception of human motion.
- Hollis is interested in dynamically stable mobile robots, including rolling and walking machines, and also haptic interaction.
- Kanade leads a wide range of efforts in humanoid perception, mobility, and quality of life. He also leads the Digital Human Research Center in Japan, which includes extensive research on humanoid robots.
- Kiesler is exploring human-robot interaction.
- Kuffner focuses on motion planning for humanoids and other moving systems.
- Pollard is interested in understanding physical interactions with the environment, including grasping and manipulation.
- Rybski is exploring heterogeneous distributed autonomous systems that interact with humans.
- Simmons is working on human-robot social interaction.
- Srinivasa is interested in the mechanics, planning, and control of manipulation in dynamic human environments.
- Veloso creates intelligent robots that cooperate, observe, reason, act, and learn.
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.
Table of Contents
- Robotics Institute Research Guide
- Push Recovery by Stepping for Humanoid Robots with Force Controlled Joints
- Control of Instantaneously Coupled Systems Applied to Humanoid Walking
- Robotics and Autonomous Systems
- Hybrid Control for Navigation of Shape-Accelerated Underactuated Balancing Systems
- Bio-Inspired Gait Control
- Planning pre-grasp manipulation for transport tasks
- Predictability or Adaptivity? Designing Robot Handoffs Modeled from Trained Dogs and People
- Control Systems for Human Running using an Inverted Pendulum Model and a Reference Motion Capture Sequence
- Geometric Reasoning for Single Image Structure Recovery
- Multi-Humanoid World Modeling in Standard Platform Robot Soccer
- The Snackbot: Documenting the Design of a Robot for Long-term Human-Robot Interaction
- Recycling Energy to Restore Impaired Ankle Function during Human Walking
- Social Interaction of Robots with People
- Preparatory Manipulation
- Human Movement Animation
- Geometric Reasoning