Week 7 (July 10 - July 16)

We arrived at the San Francicso International Airport and moved into the beach house on Saturday, JulY 9. On Sunday, we spent the day getting settled in, shopping, and discussing what the agenda would be for our time in California. Dr. Jenkins told us that we would be taking tours and participating in a "show-and-tell" type presentation at Willow Garage with the projects that we have been working on so far in the program. Also, later on, we would possibly be taking tours of Google, Bosch, Honda, and other computer science-related places while we were near the Bay Area and Silicon Valley.

On Monday, I was able to visit the Bosch Research and Technology Center in Palo Alto, CA. This week, they were putting together a "Hack-a-Thon", which is where a bunch of people get together to make a program for a robot to accomplish a task. At this specific "Hack-a-Thon", the goal was to get robots to deliver drinks to people's offices. There would be two turtlebots (similar to the iRobot Creates), one which would take orders and one to actually deliver the drinks. Also, there was a PR2 robot which would open the refrigerator door, take out the selected drink, put it on the delivery robot, and close the fridge door. We were there for the beginning of the project, where they were split up into different teams, one to work on the task of each robot and began brainstorming different ideas like what to transport the drinks in, how to order the drinks, navigation, etc. They would present the final project on Friday.
In the finished product, a drink could be delivered using a web interface or "Waiterbot", who was equipped with a Samsung Galaxy Tablet that could be teleoperated by humans or localized in the map to go by offices and take drink orders. The robot has opened the refrigerator door and is reaching in to grab the appropriate drink, it then closes the door and turns to put the can on the delivery robot. "Deliverybot" then uses its localization on the map to determine where to take the drink. After it reaches the client's desk and the can is lifted off of the robot, it plays part of the Super Mario theme, and then returns to the goal in the kitchen where it began.

On Thursday, we were able to go to Willow Garage, the company that makes the PR2 robots. We took a tour of the facility that was also located in Palo Alto, CA and we were able to see how a PR2 robot is created and ask questions to workers about the workplace, their job, the PR2 robots, etc.

Moss Beach, CA

A picture of the beach house that we were staying in
and the nearby beach and mountains

Seals at a marine reserve near our beach house

San Francisco, CA

San Francisco

The Bay Bridge

Bosch, Inc.

A map created with a PR2 robot so that the robots can know where they are in the building, where their destination is, and see obstacles in the way.

The robot that delivers the drinks, aka "Deliverybot"

The robot used to take orders, aka "Waiterbot"

This is a video of part of the drink delivering process.

Willow Garage

The PR2 Lab

The inside of the back of a PR2 robot

PR2 robots ready to be shipped