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COMPUTING RESEARCH HIGHLIGHT OF THE WEEK [April 10 - 17, 2009]

Brown Scientists Build Robot That Responds to Human Gestures


Brown computer scientists have built a robot that can follow nonverbal commands from a person in a variety of environments  indoors as well as outside  all without having to adjust for variations in lighting.  Credit: Nathan Koenig/Brown UniversityBrown University researchers have demonstrated how a robot can follow human gestures in a variety of environments — indoors and outside — without having to adjust for variations in lighting. The achievement is an important step forward in the quest to build fully autonomous robots as partners for human endeavors.

Results will be presented at the Human-Robot Interaction Conference (March 11-13, 2009), in San Diego.

So far, that autonomous, do-it-all robot is the stuff of science fiction or cartoons like “The Jetsons.” But a Brown University-led robotics team has made an important advance: The group has demonstrated how a robot can follow nonverbal commands from a person in a variety of environments — indoors as well as outside — all without having to adjust for variations in lighting.

“We have created a novel system where the robot will follow you at a precise distance, where you don’t need to wear special clothing, you don’t need to be in a special environment, and you don’t need to look backward to track it,” said Chad Jenkins, assistant professor of computer science at Brown University and the team’s leader.


Researchers:
Matt Loper (Brown University), Nate Koenig (University of Southern California), Sonia Chernova (Carnegie Mellon Univesity), Chad Jenkins (Brown University), Chris Jones (iRobot Research)

Research support provided by:
Office of Naval Research, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency

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Computing Research Highlight of the Week is a service of the Computing Community Consortium and the Computing Research Association designed to highlight some of the exciting and important recent research results in the computing fields. Each week a new highlight is chosen by CRA and CCC staff and volunteers from submissions from the computing community. Want your research featured? Submit it!.