HERB Home Exploring Robot Butler

HERB - the Home Exploring Robot Butler - can already perform some basic tasks, like putting your microwave dinner into the microwave. Carnegie Mellon University's Siddartha Srinivasa demonstrates the robot in the video shown below.


(HERB Home Exploring Robot Butler)

"This is a demo to give you an idea of all the algorithms that are built in. We're interested in building the fundamental algorithms of perception and motion planning... We're motivated by tasks that can be performed in the home, to help people, particularly the elderly and the disabled...

HERB is "a bimanual mobile manipulator comprised of two Barrett WAM arms on a Segway base equipped with a suite of image and range sensors."

Science fiction fans have been waiting for this one for a long time, as we see in the following excerpt from Frederik Pohl's 1954 story The Midas Plague:

There was the butler robot, hard at work, his copper face expressionless.
(Read more about Pohl's butler robot)

See also the butler-valet robot from William Tenn's 1951 short story The Jester.

The man in the visored helmet inserted a convoluted length of iridium - an official Robot Master Key - into the back of the robot's neck. Two full clanking turns and the machinery purred. Eyebrow ridges clinked upward. Multi-linked lips pursed questioningly.

"My fiancee, Josephine Lilly... designed it," Lester told him proudly. "Her idea of what a butler-valet combo should look like - sort of in the ancient English tradition..."
(Read more about William Tenn's butler-valet robot)

I wouldn't call heating something in the microwave cooking, but in case you do, you'll want to read about Anthony Boucher's robot chef from his 1943 story Robinc.

Via ITWorld.

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