Humanoid Robots Being Sent to Advance ResearchHumanoid Robots Being Sent to Advance Research
Researchers around the U.S. will be sent humanoid robots to study, in a bid to accelerate robotic design and deployment
May 11, 2023
A $5 million project designed to accelerate robotics research has been announced, with Oregon State University (OSU) researchers set to lead the effort.
Established by the National Science Foundation (NSF), the program plans to make humanoid robots more accessible to researchers and engineers, in a bid to accelerate development and deployment of robotic designs.
According to the university, the aim of the project is to “drive discovery and learning in computing and communication foundations.”
Under the new collaboration, OSU researchers are set to partner with engineers at the University of Pennsylvania’s Grasp Laboratory, as well as robotics software company Semio, to build and distribute 50 humanoid robots to researchers in the U.S.
By rolling out the same robot to researchers across the nation, the team intends to facilitate greater collaboration in robotic design and accelerate the deployment of these systems across industries. The various teams will be connected using online collaboration tools, allowing them to share findings and work collaboratively.
“A big hurdle in robotics research has been the lack of a common robot to work with,” said Bill Smart, OSU study lead. “It’s tough to compare results and replicate and build on each other’s work when everyone is using a different type of robot.
“Part of the focus is bringing new teams into the community and helping them get up to speed by pairing them with more experienced researchers. This will increase the diversity of people involved in robotics research in the United States and accelerate progress, especially in the field of human-robot interaction.”
The project comes as part of the NSF’s Computer and Information Science and Engineering Community Research Infrastructure program. According to Naomi Fitter, Smart’s co-lead, the team will be building on a previous NSF-funded project by the University of Pennsylvania, Semio and the University of Southern California that designed, built and tested 10 prototype robots and awarded them to research teams.
“The current work will incorporate the lessons learned to improve the robot’s design, making it easier to manufacture at scale, and to distribute it to a broader set of research groups,” said Fitter.
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