ICICS robotics researchers in the Collaborative Advanced Robotics and Intelligent Systems Laboratory (CARIS) and Laboratory for Computational Intelligence (LCI) are developing systems to help elderly people and those with disabilities in their daily activities, both at home and at work. They have recently taken delivery of a PR2 mobile robot system, which will greatly accelerate this work. The robot—dubbed “Charlie”—has two arms, can navigate indoors at walking speed, negotiate the usual workplace and home obstacles, lift a 10kg load in each hand, and reach from the floor to a two metre high shelf.
The researchers are working on the robot’s ability to interpret a user’s speech, body language, eye movement, and physiological responses when carrying out tasks. These behaviours, and others aimed at manufacturing applications, are made possible by the PR2’s “soft touch,” which distinguishes it from other instable, high-mass humanoid robots.
ICICS is the first university facility in Canada to be equipped with this state-of-the-art robot. It was purchased in 2011 with an ICICS-led CFI grant award.