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Heather Knight is currently a PhD student at the Carnegie Mellon Robotics Institute. Before getting to Carnegie Mellon she studied at MIT and even worked at Aldebaran Robotics for a while.
She was kind enough to answer a few questions for us for National Robotics Week.
RL: When you were at MIT did you get a chance to work with Kismet or any of the other cool social robots?
HK: I actually have a playlist of some of my favorite social robot videos, including several I’ve worked on, here: YouTube/Marilyn Monrobot.
As a freshman at MIT, I became a student researcher at Dr. Cynthia Breazeal’s Personal Robotics Group. She is the creator of Kismet , and founder of the field of social robots. You can read her seminal book on the subject, Designing Social Robots. That book is one of my favorites, right up there with Clifford Nass’s The Media Equation and Rosalind Picard’s Affective Computing.
Feel free to flip through some of the social robot, artistic and technical projects I’ve worked on on MarilynMonrobot.com’s project page. Cyberflora and the Sensate Bear, part of the Huggable Project, were particularly seminal for me.
Last Saturday we had a chance to get up close and personal with NAO from Aldebaran Robotics at the Museum of Science in Boston. As part of a block party for National Robotics Week we saw some amazing robots.
If you haven’t actually met this little humanoid yet, suffice to say we were very impressed.
NAO reacts to voice commands thanks to 4 microphones. This gives NAO the ability to dance on command as we saw the the block party. One can also touch the capacitive sensor on his head to give him commands.
What most impressed us was NAO’s 25 degrees of freedom and his ability to contort and actually balance on one leg like he was doing some Tai Chi moves. This flexibility is also accomplished with the help of an inertial sensor, force sensitive resistors, Hall effect sensors, an infrared receiver and the sonar sensors.
Did we also mention that NAO has been the official robot of the standard platform league of Robocup since 2008? This is one impressive robot.
The Robocup Mediterranean Open2010 includes an international open competition in the Robocup Soccer – Standard Platform League, among universities from all over the world. The competition is promoted by Fondazione Mondo Digitale in partnership with “Sapienza” University of Rome – Computer and Systems Sciences Department.
The Italian Selection Robocup Junior 2010 is a competition among Italian schools in the soccer, rescue and dance categories. Winners will participate to Robocup Singapore 2010
Click through for a video of the event from last year (in Italian).