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Snackbot, Robotic Bringer Of Snacks

Snackbot is an autonomous mobile robot whose mission is to bring you tasty treats! Carnegie Mellon researchers have certainly nailed down a lucrative customer demographic for this bot.


(Snackbot bringing you snacks)

Snackbot is a mobile robot, about the size of a very small human, that rolls around on wheels, and will be delivering snacks to students, faculty, and office workers at Carnegie Mellon University...

Snackbot is meant as an ongoing platform for research. The Snackbot will support research into robust autonomous operation in office environments. Our efforts range from multi-sensor fusion algorithms for perception, reasoning about dynamic spaces,communicating with people through verbal and non-verbal mechanisms, and planning with incomplete information.


(Snackbot video)

The research will allow the robot to navigate through congested areas in a socially acceptable fashion, detect individual people moving near the robot, recognize when someone that the robot knows approaches it, and autonomously learn to recognize new objects.

Carnegie Mellon's website insists that Snackbot is a research platform on all kinds of cool topics, like "behavioral science research on such topics as personalization" and "people’s relationships with interactive objects". But I think that CMU researchers want fresh snacks! And why shouldn't they? Hard working engineers who build our robotic future need fuel, too.

Are there any science fictional robots that are bringers of snacks? You bet. For example, fans may recall Star Wars' Artoo Detoo in a snack-carrying capacity on Jabba's sail barge.


(Artoo Detoo waiting on guests on Jabba's sail barge)

And don't forget the waitress robot WA-7, the robotic waitress from Dex's Diner in Star Wars II Attack of the Clones.


(WA-7 robotic waitress)

Update 08-Jul-2021:

Fans of science fiction author Robert Heinlein may recall the delivery robot mentioned in his 1962 novel Podkayne of Mars:

Not since the time he rewired the delivery robot so that it would serve him midnight snacks and charge them to my code number without (so far as anyone could ever prove) disturbing the company’s seal on the control box.

End update.

Learn more about Snackbot at Carnegie Mellon via BotJunkie.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 10/14/2009)

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