Developing Robot Capabilities for the Real World

Wes Huang

Friday, November 8th, 2013

Abstract: In this talk, I will describe two research projects at iRobot, on door opening and socially-aware navigation, that are steps towards a long-term goal of extending independent living. For robots to do work in indoor environments, access to buildings and rooms is essential, and doors often stand in the way of that access. We are developing algorithms for opening doors with iRobot's 510 PackBot. Part of this work involves overcoming limitations of the PackBot, but we are also addressing problems that prior work in door opening has not. The second project is about socially-aware navigation. Navigating in shared spaces is a social interaction, but our robots are not yet versant in the social aspect of navigation. I will describe an experiment we conducted to investigate how a robot can actively use nonverbal social cues in navigation. These projects can be viewed as steps towards developing robots that extend independent living, enabling seniors to live at home or to delay a transition to a higher level of care which has been stated as a long-term goal for iRobot by our CEO. 

Wes Huang is a Principal Robotics Engineer at iRobot.  He received his PhD in Robotics from Carnegie Mellon's Robotics Institute and has conducted research in robotic manipulation, mobile robotics, and mapping & localization. He joined iRobot's Research group in 2009. 

November 8, 2013

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