A "windfall profit" from the States

04/15/2009 : 11:41


Prof. Michael Beetz, leader of the Image Understanding and Knowledge-based-Systems group at Informatik IX of TUM, received a very welcome surprise gift from Willow Garage Inc., an US-American company: a cheque over $ 100.000. Like the CoTeSys research group working for the "Assistive Kitchen", one of the three demonstration scenarios of CoTeSys, Willow Garage also focuses on service robots that are to assist elderly or handicapped people.

In order to clear a breakfast table or to give a person his medication, a robot needs to negotiate its way in a room. The robot has to recognize obstacles and also furniture like the kitchen counter. With the help of cameras and a laser, the robot scans the surroundings out of which a three-dimensional scatter-plot results. This is a model of the room with walls and interiors like cupboards. This helps the robot to learn what is in the cupboards and which things are needed in order to set, for example, a breakfast table properly. The research group will use the donation to advance research in this project.