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Korea shows off salad-tossing robot at Robot World 2012


October 30, 2012

CIROS intelligently slices a cucumber with a kitchen knife

CIROS intelligently slices a cucumber with a kitchen knife

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Researchers from the Korean Institute of Science and Technology's (KIST) Center for Intelligent Robotics (CIR) demonstrated their household service robot, CIROS, at Robot World 2012. CIROS, the third version of the robot since development began in 2005, is intended to help out around the home by performing simple chores. You can watch it prepare a salad by slicing a cucumber and adding dressing in the video below.

According to a KIST official, CIROS is able to recognize common objects as well as kitchen appliances like microwaves, sinks, refrigerators, and dishwashers, and can move intelligently through its environment. The robot's artificial intelligence is the result of collaboration between robotics labs at several top-ranking Korean institutions including Seoul National University, the Korean Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), Korea University, Sungkyukwan University, Sogang University, and the Pohang University of Science and Technology (POSTECH). As such, CIROS represents the latest in Korean robotics technology.

The robot's head contains stereoscopic cameras and a 3D IR sensor similar to the Microsoft Kinect, which it uses to recognize objects. Furthermore, robust speech recognition is made possible with a 12-piece microphone array. CIROS stands 5'3" (160 cm) tall, weighs a hefty 330 pounds (150 kg), and moves in any direction thanks to its wheeled base. It can detect and avoid obstacles in its vicinity thanks to a pair of laser range finders and six ultrasonic sensors in its body. And its dexterous hands, identical to those developed for HUBO (another robot developed separately at KAIST), can hold a variety of objects and tools.

CIROS loads a dishwasher

Earlier versions of the robot poured beverages from juice dispensers, and delivered them on a serving tray. Photos from the lab suggest CIROS is also capable of intelligently loading and unloading a dishwasher. Eventually, the researchers plan to build and program a robot that can perform every step of serving a meal, from its preparation through to tidying up. That won't be a reality for several years, but progress is being made slowly but surely. Similar projects are also underway in the United States, Germany, and Japan, and researchers compete in RoboCup @Home, an annual competition to build household robots that can perform simple tasks like serving a bowl of cereal.

Besides CIROS, the researchers at KIST CIR are also developing a bipedal humanoid robot named KIBO, and educational robots designed to teach students English lessons. A separate lab at KIST also works on bipedal robots with technology giant Samsung.

Robot World 2012 ran from October 25 to 28, and attracted many businesses to display their industrial manufacturing robots, robot vacuum cleaners, commercial service robots, and educational toys and kits.

Source: KIST CIR (Korean) via Robot World 2012 (Korean)

About the Author
Jason Falconer Jason is a freelance writer based in central Canada with a background in computer graphics. He has written about hundreds of humanoid robots on his website Plastic Pals and is an avid gamer with an unsightly collection of retro consoles, cartridges, and controllers. All articles by Jason Falconer

That video could not have been more disappointing. All that effort and it can't even make uniform slices on a cucumber carefully propped up for it to grab. I'd like to see it fish that cuke out of the fridge and really cut it. Full dinner start to finish? Must take 6 hours.

Karl L

Now we're giving them knives? Well, we had a good run, I'll miss you all.

Emilio Reyes

Absolutely useless (maybe in a decade or two it might work). Everything must be placed perfectly and get the consistency of the slices. How did the stuff get onto the plate and where did the other ingredients come from? Can you see this thing trying to pick up those slices or even recognize them?


Funny, it can't even do that right.

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