Cool upcoming talk: Standford AI Robot Project

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This talk may be interesting to a lot of area makers.  In case you’re wondering the CS department building is here.

STAIR: The STanford Artificial Intelligence Robot project

Andrew Y. Ng
Stanford University

DATE/TIME : Wednesday, February 4, 2009, 4:15 P.M.
LOCATION  : CS Room 105

This talk will describe the STAIR home assistant robot project, and the
satellite projects that led to key STAIR components such as (i) robotic
grasping of previously unknown objects, (ii) depth perception from a
single still image, and (iii) multi-modal robotic perception.

Since its birth in 1956, the AI dream has been to build systems that
exhibit broad-spectrum competence and intelligence.  STAIR revisits this
dream, and seeks to integrate onto a single robot platform tools drawn
from all areas of AI including learning, vision, navigation, manipulation,
planning, and speech/NLP.  This is in distinct contrast to, and also
represents an attempt to reverse, the 30 year old trend of working on
fragmented AI sub-fields.  STAIR’s goal is a useful home assistant robot,
and over the long term, we envision a single robot that can perform tasks
such as tidying up a room, using a dishwasher, fetching and delivering
items, and preparing meals.

In this talk, I’ll describe our progress on having the STAIR robot fetch
items from around the office, and on having STAIR take inventory of office
items.  Specifically, I’ll describe: (i) learning to grasp previously
unseen objects (including unloading items from a dishwasher); (ii)
probabilistic multi-resolution maps, which enable the robot to open/use
doors; (iii) a robotic foveal+peripheral vision system for object
recognition and tracking. I’ll also outline some of the main technical
ideas—such as learning 3-d reconstructions from a single still image,
and reinforcement learning algorithms for robotic control—that played
key roles in enabling these STAIR components.

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