Domo Robot: Unstructured Interaction Over Time

The Domo robot is a new force sensing and compliant humanoid robot under development in the Humanoid Robotics Group at MIT CSAIL. Created by Aaron Edsinger-Gonzales at MIT, it is designed to explore issues in general dexterous manipulation, visual perception, and learning. In particular, Domo is designed to reseach ways that robots can can interact with people and objects in unstructured environments over long periods of time.


(Edsinger Domo Robot )

Domo has the following specifications:

  • 29 active degrees of freedom (DOF)
  • Two 6 DOF force controlled arms using Series Elastic Actuators (SEA)
  • Two 6 DOF force controlled hands using SEAs
  • A 2 DOF force controlled neck using SEAs
  • Stereo pair of Point Grey Firewire CCD cameras
  • Two 4 DOF hands using Force Sensing Compliant (FSC) actuators
  • Cognitive processing by a 6 node [and growing] Debian Linux cluster running a mixture of C/C++/Python and utilizing the Yarp robot libraries.
  • Weight: 42lbs. Height: 34" tall. Arm span: 5' 6"
The torso is not currently actuated. The real-time sensorimotor system is managed by an embedded network of five DSP controllers.

The intent of the research is to advance a "creature based approach to humanoid robotics." The idea is that a creature-based robot can be left on for many days in unstructured environments, even interacting directly with people. New behaviors can be added and integrated with existing ones while the experiment is ongoing. To accomplish this, a robotic platform must be scalable and robust - unlike some systems that are designed only to perform specific motions.

The sensorimotor and cognitive architecture for the robot provides a scalable, realtime system with safety features at multiple levels. A creature based approach allows the robot to gain rich, prolonged sensorimotor experiences of its world during manipulation tasks. These experiences are generated from a set of core-competency behaviors and motivations.
(From Domo: A Force Sensing Humanoid Robot for Manipulation Research)

The ability to interact with human beings in unstructured environments for long periods is key to bringing to life such science fictional robots as R. Daneel Olivaw, the robot detective in Isaac Asimov's 1953 novel Caves of Steel. Even child playmate robots like Teddy from Super-Toys Last All Summer Long (the basis for AI, the Spielberg/Kubrick movie) by Brian Aldiss need this capability

Update 12-Apr-2007: Here's a short update (and more recent pictures) of Domo Robot - No Mere Housekeeper. (End update.)

Read more at Edsinger Domo; also, a very interesting and readable paper, Domo: A Force Sensing Humanoid Robot for Manipulation Reasearch (pdf). The paper provides a lot of detail on how robots should be built to operate continuously for very long periods.

Thanks to an anonymous reader for the tip on this robot.

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