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PR2 Robot Fetches Sandwiches, Hundreds of Thousands of Dollars Well Spent

by Paul Strauss
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We’ve seen the PR2 robot do all sorts of amazing and whimsical things over the years. This time, PR2 has been trained to do something we could all use from time-to-time – fetching sandwiches. There are certainly many times that I’m just too busy or lazy to get up from my desk, so it would be nice to have a robot go grab me some lunch.

pr2_robot_fetches_sandwiches

Students from the University of Tokyo and Technische Universität München programmed this PR2 to take the simple request “Please bring me a sandwich,” and figure out exactly what it needs to do. Armed with a digital map of its environment, and leveraging semantic search information, the robot is able to determine not only what foodstuffs constitute a sandwich, but also what sort of locations are most likely to have sandwiches, such as a fridge or a Subway sandwich store. Watch as PR2 works his sandwichcraft in this video:

I love how the robot looks in the fridge first, and realizes there are no sammies present, so he then has to head out to forage for sandwiches in the wild. And what’s with the guy just handing over a bag of five-dollar-footlongs without the robot giving the clerk any cash? Is PR2 wielding a gun in his other claw? Or does Subway just have a rule in Japan that all robots eat free?

[via IEEE Spectrum via PopSci]

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