TOWARDS HUMANOID ROBOTS
by Marek Perkowski
Yes, finally researchers from all over the world, and especially in Japan, are
your old-time friends from science-fiction movies: autonomous walking, reasoning and talking robots.
Thanks to inexpensive and powerful
enabling technologies such as microprocessors and integrated servos,
even poor university like PSU can make a useful contribution, if they have a good software architecture idea.
Humanoid Robots is a very new research area -
the first IEEE RAS conference on Humanoid Robots was held in September 2000 at MIT.
The lecture will present recent research in Humanoid Robots.
Based on examples of the Honda robot, the MIT Cog, and the NASA ROBONAUT we will discuss
the problems which the developers of such robots have to face with.
The robotics architectures, machine learning, computer vision and speech/natural language
communication will be briefly presented.
We will discuss in particular the design of heads, arms and hands, as well as legs and bodies of the robots.
The particular emphasis will be on new approaches to the learning and immitating robots.
Finally, we will present the humanoid robot architecture that we develop at PSU.
Software-wise, it is based on our previous research in Logic Synthesis and Data Mining,
specifically on a new approach to Machine Learning called Constructive Induction that we
helped to develop and that is now used in several groups worldwide.
Mechanically, our robot is a hexapod. It has a torso of a human but a lower body is
like an insect. A head will talk in English using voice analysis/synthesis
system from OGI and the natural language data-base interface developed by us in the past.
You will find more on these topics on the
WWW Page of the Intelligent Robotics Laboratory,
in the two-quarter senior level/graduate sequence, ``Intelligent Robotics''
taught in Winter and Spring of 2001 by Dr. Perkowski.
All projects in this class will be related to building hardware or
software components of our Centaur Hexapod, or to "teaching" certain behaviors to the robot.