Robots are extremely effective in environments like factory floors that are structured for them, and currently ineffective in environments like our homes that are structured for humans. The Personal Robotics Lab at The Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University is developing the fundamental building blocks of perception, navigation, manipulation, and interaction that will enable robots to perform useful tasks in environments structured for humans.
The lab was founded by Prof. Siddhartha Srinivasa in 2006 with funding from Intel Pittsburgh and the Quality of Life Technologies NSF ERC. Our main research focus is on Manipulation Planning: extending randomized planners to constraint manifolds, functional gradient optimization with CHOMP, and leveraging the mechanics of manipulation for planning under uncertainty. Another focus is on Perception for Manipulation: we have developed MOPED: an efficient object recognition and pose estimation system for manipulation. We have just recently begun working on Human-Robot Interaction, in particular on the problem of Collaborative Manipulation.
We integrate all of our algorithms on our technology testbed HERB, short for Home Exploring Robot Butler, a bimanual mobile manipulator comprised of two Barrett WAM arms on a Segway base equipped with a suite of image and range sensors.HERB serves both as a realistic testbed for our algorithms and as a focal point of our industry collaborations, with Intel’s Embedded Communications Group, the Quality of Life Technologies Center, Willow Garage, and Barrett Technologies, among many others, and our academic collaborations, with The University of Pittsburgh, The University of Washington at Seattle, Georgia Tech, Technical University of Munich, Berlin, and Aachen, among many others.