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How to Tame Your Robot


Carnegie Mellon University researcher Madeline Gannon teaches a robot.

Carnegie Mellon University researcher Madeline Gannon shows an industrial robot the tasks it needs to perform.

Credit: CMU News

Carnegie Mellon University researcher Madeline Gannon has created the means to instruct a robot to perform tasks by following a human coder's motions through her design of the open source Quipt software.

"I wanted to invent better ways to talk with machines who can make things," Gannon says. "Industrial robots are some of the most adaptable and useful to do that."

Quipt replaces the joystick-based method of robot programming with a motion-capture system that enables the machine to see where it is using cameras. The robot sees markers on a person's hand or clothes, and can track them, mimic their movement, or be instructed to avoid markers, potentially boosting both the robot's safety and intelligence.

"What's really exciting is taking these machines off of control settings and taking them into live environments, like classrooms or construction sites," Gannon says.

Gannon worked with visiting artist Addie Wagenknecht and the Frank-Ratchye Studio for Creative Inquiry on a robot that could rock a baby's cradle based on the sound of the infant's cries.

Frank-Ratchye Studio director Golan Levin thinks Gannon's achievements could have a transformative effect on industrial design and the arts, along with how people design architecture, apparel, and furniture.

From CMU News
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