Robotic Busboy Like R2D2

A robotic busboy prototype has been developed by Intel Research's Personal Robotics project. Intel aims to transition robots from structured industrial applications to unstructured human-infested environments.

Intel's Pittsburgh and Seattle labs are using a system combining a Segway mobile platform with a manipulator arm and hand; the resulting "robotic busboy" can recognize and manipulate common indoor objects.


(Robotic busboy)

The robot uses a Barrett robotic hand augmented with electric field sensors in the fingertips to detect and model objects at close range without actually needing to touch them. See a video of the robotic hand with electrolocation.

Sci-fi fans may recall that R2D2 was fitted with a similar system in the 1983 movie Return of the Jedi, in which he was forced to work in Jabba the Hutt's sail barge as a waiter.


(R2D2 serves drinks on Jabba's sail barge)

See also this article on Robot Waiters From China And Canada.

Sources: Robot Watch and Intel Personal Robotics.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 9/7/2008)

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