Iowa State University has developed their own humanoid robot to perform procedural learning. Though the robot lacks a lower body and is therefore unable to move around on its own, it has two (rather large) Barrett Whole Arm Manipulators for arms, and a custom-designed head with stereo vision capable of simple emotional expression. Its three-fingered hands are flexible enough to perform a variety of grasping motions, using fingers 1 and 3 as opposable thumbs when necessary.
The philosophy behind the research is to teach the robot the properties of its surroundings similar to the way a child or animal learns during early development, through direct experience. The robot has already learned to identify objects from the sounds they make when being touched, pushed, held, and shaken.
The robot used a pair of scissors to cut the ceremonial ribbon for the opening of Iowa State University’s Electrical and Computer Engineering building, where the robot makes its home in the Developmental Robotics Lab. Izaak Moody, an undergraduate in the College of Art and Design, is responsible for designing the robot’s friendly head, and has created some nice rendered animations showing the robot’s emotional range. The previously posted robot Archie from the Universities of Manitoba and Vienna could learn a lot from this. Videos and media after the break.
Iowa State University