JSK Returns to Willow Garage, Tidiness Ensues

Three researchers from the JSK Lab at Tokyo University, Ryo Hanai, Kimitoshi Yamazaki and Hiroaki Yaguchi, took advantage of their two-week Spring vacation to gain some hands-on experience with our PR2 Beta robots and ROS 1.0.  This was JSK's second visit to Willow Garage, and we were excited to watch this new group of researchers use the PR2 for the first time.     

With only a couple of ROS tutorials under their belts, the researchers learned how to use ROS libraries for 3D perception, navigation, and controllers. During their two-week stay, the team put together four demos that accomplished various cleanup tasks.  In the first, the PR2 detected items on a table and transferred them to a tray before carrying everything across the room.  The second and third demos had the PR2 pick up and put away dishes and clothing, while the final demo used visual features to differentiate between two similar items (book and box). 

These demos required a variety of perception approaches. The group applied a circular feature detector to identify the patternless plate, and used the shirt's wrinkles as features to identify the clothing.  To discern between the box and book, the PR2 pulled each item closer to its cameras, and then used SURF for item identification.  We hope our new tidy PR2 means that we can soon stop picking up after ourselves around the office.

We were very impressed with what the JSK visitors were able to accomplish, especially with community efforts to translate the ROS documentation only just underway. Check out the video to see the demos and hear more about JSK's experience at Willow Garage.  You can also take a look at our visit to Japan last June, when we worked together to port the Navigation stack to JSK's Kawada HRP2-V robot.