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2015 National Robotics Week Celebration

April 16, 2015 - April 17, 2015, 12:00 - 6:00 PM, Campus

The Robotics Institute will celebrate the fifth annual National Robotics Week on April 16 & 17 with lectures, project demonstrations, the annual Mobot (mobile robot) races and a reception for RI affiliated people.

April 16
12:00 - 1:30 p.m.: Teruko Yata Memorial Lecture in Robotics
A School of Computer Science Distinguished Lecture
Location: Rashid Auditorium, 4401 Gates Hillman Center
Speaker: Prof. Dr. Bradley Nelson

April 17
12:00 - 4:00 pm: PUBLIC SPACE ROBOTS
Open to the public

Gates and Hillman Centers 3rd floor Cafe area
The Gamebot Project is focused on developing a social robot capable of playing games on a Mircosoft Surface Table. The current design objective, under the instruction of Professor Reid Simmons, is to have the Gamebot sit in the Cafeteria of CMU’s new Gates Center and play Scrabble with interested passersby.

TANK the roboceptionist
Newell-Simon Hall 3rd floor entry area
Meet Marion (Tank) LeFleur, Newell-Simon’s Roboceptionist. Tank joins us fresh from Iraq where he did reconnaissance for the CIA. Please stop in the lobby of Newell-Simon to welcome Tank to his new job. He’ll be glad to see you! The goal of the project is to produce a robot helpmate that is useful, exhibits social competence, and remains compelling to interact with for an extended period of time.

Pre-registration is requiredLab Tours will include:

The Intelligent Workcell
Many robots work in factories assembling cars, painting parts, and welding things together. In order to keep workers safe, they must be physically separated from the robots. The Intelligent Workcell is developing methods to allow people and robots to work together safely in an industrial environment. Sensors monitor the people in the workcell and stop the robot if they get in its way. We are also testing methods for communicating what the robot is trying to do to the workers by using lights in the floor and on the robot. Come see our big robot arm as we safely work with it to assemble a rocket.

Microdynamic Systems Lab - Ballbot: An Omnidirectional Balancing Robot
The ballbot is balancing mobile robot with one wheel! We will demonstrate the ballbot's omnidirectional motion, balancing, and inherent compliance along with some perception and planning.

Open to the public, school groups welcome.

Demos will include:

Biorobotics Laboratory Demo (Snake Robots)
Snake robots can use their many internal degrees of freedom to perform a variety of locomotion capabilities that go beyond those of wheeled and legged robots. These devices are versatile, achieving behaviors including crawling, climbing, and swimming, all without disturbing their surrounding areas.

Personal Robotics Laboratory ADA, the Assistive Dexterous Arm Demo
ADA, the Assistive Dexterous Arm, is a wheelchair-mounted robot arm. This system is designed for people with upper extremity disabilities to increase independence and reduce the number of hours care providers are required. In this demo, we demonstrate automated feeding, where the robot autonomously detects potential bites on a plate, uses a fork to collect the next bite, and then serves the food to the user's mouth.

CMU Soft Robotics and Bionics Laboratory Demo
Our research goal is to analyze the structures and mechanisms of biological systems and transform them into robotic/mechatronic systems for human life. We are interested in bio-inspired design of soft robots with artificial muscles and skins. The display shows an example of robotic arm made of combination of soft an rigid materials. The arm is pneumatically powered using custom-built pneumatic artificial muscles, which are inflated and deflated using valves. The wrist and hand
motions are actuated via servo motors.

BIRD: Vision and Learning for Bio-inspired Monocular Cluttered Flight Demo
Nature is home to various species of birds that can fly through dense forests with an incredibly high speed. While this can be accomplished flawlessly by such predators, developing similar biologically inspired agile Micro-Aerial Vehicles (MAVs) has long been a focal direction in robotics research. Due to payload, power and computational constraints onboard, it is necessary for such systems to have autonomous navigation and flight capabilities in highly dense and cluttered environments using only passive sensors such as cameras. This is a challenging problem, given they have to operate in highly variable illumination conditions and be responsive to large environmental variations. To this end, we present a system with novel algorithms for monocular vision based perception, planning and control and demonstrate the capability for a small autonomous MAVs to fly through dense forest environments with speeds unto 1.5 m/s.

Girls Of Steel
The Girls of Steel is an all-girls FIRST Robotics Competition team hosted at and mentored by RI’s Field Robotics Center. It is composed of approximately 40 girls from about 20 high schools in the Pittsburgh region.

Butterfly Haptics
Haptics is the science and technology of touch. We will demonstrate the Butterfly Haptics Maglev 200 haptic interface system which uses magnetic levitation to provide users with high fidelity touch feedback with 3D virtual and remote robot environments. Several examples of 3D virtual environments can be explored by visitors. Butterfly Haptics is a spin-off from CMU and shipped its first product in 2009.

Assistive Robots for Blind Travelers - TechBridge World
Description: As robotics technology evolves to a stage where co-robots, or robots that can work with humans, become a reality, we need to ensure that these co-robots are equally capable of interacting with humans with disabilities. This project addresses this challenge by exploring meaningful human-robot interaction for robots assisting blind travelers in navigating unfamiliar urban environments.

Braille Tutor - TechBridge World
Description: In response to the observed need for enhancing literacy for the blind in underserved communities, TechBridgeWorld researchers developed a suite of tools for teaching the skill of writing braille using the slate and stylus through guided practice through immediate audio feedback.

A freely available software for automatic facial analysis valves. The wrist and hand motions are actuated via servo motors.

Testing for Space Motor

Wheel Test Bed

Ice Breaker

Cave Crawler

and more!

12:00 noon - 2:00 pm: 21ST ANNUAL MOBOT RACES
Location: Walkway outside of Wean Hall
Open to the public

3:00 - 4:00 pm: THE 15th GATE: MOBOT AWARD CEREMONY and WRAP-UP
Location: Rashid Auditorium – Gates & Hillman 4401 – 3:00 pm

4:00 - 6:00 pm: 
Location: Gates and Hillman Centers, First floor, Planetary Robotics Lab (PRL)
Pre-registration is required.

If you have any specific questions about the National Robotics Week open
house please email Debbie Tobin at


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