The University of Southern California’s robots usually lurk in dim basement labs and rooms tucked at the end of winding corridors. They didn’t actually emerge on Thursday, but the public was invited inside for an intimate look at what the school’s engineering and artificial intelligence experts have been building.
First, meet the ARM robot, which uses a camera and depth sensors to see an object and pressure pads on its hands to register when it has grasped an object.
This cute little guy is the NAO robot, which pops up at a lot of robot expos doing very different things. I’ve seen it play soccer and act as a social companion. But at USC it was actually leading an exercise session, inviting its observers to do lunges, squats and jumping jacks. It acted out each movement.
USC’s other interactive robots included Romibo, dressed up like a dragon…
…and the school’s Bandit-II robot, which invited participants to copy its movements. If they messed up, it made them start all over again. Bandit-II’s lips and eyebrows move, giving it a wide range of emotions.
One of the more unique robots was the EcoMapper: an autonomous underwater robot that can collect data on water quality and map the floors of bodies of water.
The Zeus 3D printer also made an appearance. When I wrote about the Zeus last year, most of the images were renderings. But now the machine is very real. I saw it print and scan, and got a glimpse of the beautiful user interface its team promised.
National Robotics Week events are going on through Sunday all over the country. Check out events near you here.