How close are we to having household robots capable of the basic domestic chores that would make them really useful? The latest in Korean robotics technology suggests we are getting there - but slowly.
Researchers from the Center for Intelligent Robotics at the Korean Institute of Science and Technology's (KIST) demonstrated Version 3 of their household service robot, CIROS, at Robot World 2012. Development of this robot which is intended to help out around the home by performing simple chores began in 2005 and it now has an impressive list of capabilities, including food preparations and loading a dishwasher.
According to KIST, CIROS is able to recognize common objects as well as kitchen appliances like microwaves, sinks, refrigerators, and dishwashers, and can move intelligently through its environment.
The robot's artificial intelligence is the result of collaboration between robotics labs at several Korean institutions including Seoul National University, the Korean Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), Korea University, Sungkyukwan University, Sogang University, and the Pohang University of Science and Technology (POSTECH).
(click to enlarge)
CIROS stands 5'3" (160 cm) tall, weighs 330 pounds (150 kg), and moves in any direction thanks to its wheeled base. It's head contains a Kinect which it uses to recognize objects. It also speech recognition capability with a 12-piece microphone array. has It can detect and avoid obstacles in its vicinity thanks to a pair of laser range finders and six ultrasonic sensors in its body. Its hands are identical to those developed for HUBO (another robot developed separately at KAIST), and can hold a variety of objects and tools, making it capable of pouring drinks, carrying trays, loading a dishwasher and slicing vegetables.
In this video it prepares a cucumber salad - but, like the other chores it is capable of, it does it very slowly!
There is still something very disturbing about a robot with a knife.
Programming into the unknown - it is what keeps us all going. The idea that with nothing but some code we can do something that hasn't been done before. In the old days what you did was between you an [ ... ]