Readers may recall Boston Dynamics' ATLAS DRC robot. At the Institute for Human and Machine Cognition (IHMC), they're selected a repetitive activity for the ATLAS robot to do while installing systematic software updates - namely, housekeeping.
(ATLAS DRC Robot vidoe)
We spoke with John Carff, ATLAS robot operator at IHMC, about what was going on behind the scenes in this video (which, by the way, you’re watching at 20x normal speed)...
"Most of the stuff in this video is controlled by me, but in a co-active way. I’m not simply sitting there with a joystick teleoperating the robot: I tell the robot through the UI that I want to grab a bottle off the table by clicking the bottle and making sure that the resulting hand is in the correct place. Then, the robot tells me how it’s going to move its entire body to reach that location, through a preview in the UI. If I’m okay with the plan the robot has come up with, I tell it to execute that motion. In the future, I can see a lot of what was done in this video moving more to the autonomous side, but I always see there being a human in the loop.”
The ATLAS robot is moving toward science fiction Grandmaster Robert Heinlein's dream of an all-around household robot in his 1956 novel The Door Into Summer.
Just what did I want Flexible Frank to do? Answer: any work a human being does around a house. He didn't have to play cards, make love, eat or sleep, but he did have to clean up after the card game, cook, make beds...
(Read more about Flexible Frank)