PR2 Beta Sites: Spotlight on Uni Freiburg
One of the most intriguing visions in robotics is that of a robotic housemaid capable of helping us with everyday household tasks. Researchers at Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg in Germany have now started to develop a robotic application for cleaning up untidy rooms using the PR2.
Imagine you just had a dinner party with your friends. Everybody has left, and you would head to bed were it not for the mess left behind; dirty plates and half-empty glasses litter the table. As you begin to clear the dishes, you remember a new personal robot application that recently appeared in the App Store. A few moments pass and you've found and downloaded the TidyUpRobot Application. Shortly thereafter, your personal robot enters the room, analyzing the dinner table using its laser scanner and cameras, and begins bringing the glasses and plates to the dishwasher, and the leftover food to the fridge. Science Fiction? Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg will use their PR2 to continue their work towards this goal.
Over the next two years, the PR2 team from the University of Freiburg will work both on the theoretical and practical problems of enabling a household robot to reliably and autonomously clear objects from a table and return them to where they belong. Such an accomplishment will require progress in a number of robotics research areas including, navigation, perception and manipulation. Initially, the robot must obtain a map of its environment so that it can navigate from room to room. The robot must be able to recognize important items, such as the trashcan and dishwasher, and remember their locations. Additionally, the robot needs to learn how to grasp a wide variety of objects, as different objects require varying grasp positions and handling. The University of Freiburg aims to piece these, and other, open robotics challenges together, and develop robotic capabilities that will make our lives more efficient and productive.
The TidyUpRobot project is a joint initiative of three internationally-renowned research labs at the University of Freiburg:
- The Autonomous Intelligent Systems lab, headed by professor Wolfram Burgard
- The Research Group on the Foundations of Artificial Intelligence, headed by professor Bernhard Nebel
- The Machine Learning Lab, headed by professor Martin Riedmiller
The doctoral students and postdocs that will jointly work on the PR2 project are:
Inquiries from students interested in working with the PR2 in Freiburg are always welcome.
Below is a video of the Jürgen Sturm presenting University of Freiburg's proposal to the rest of the PR2 Beta Program participants. You can download the slides as PDF.
Article written with assistance from Jürgen Sturm.