Robot dogs mimic the work of expensive canines

JANUARY 23, 2009--Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have engineered a biologically inspired robot that mirrors the actions of sought-after service dogs.

Jan 23rd, 2009

JANUARY 23, 2009--Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have engineered a biologically inspired robot that mirrors the actions of sought-after service dogs. Users verbally command the robot to complete a task and the robot responds once a basic laser pointer illuminates the location of the desired action.

For instance, if a person needs an item fetched, the individual would normally command a service dog to do so and then gesture with their hands toward the location. The service robot mimics the process, with the hand gesture replaced by aiming the laser pointer at the desired item. Employing this technology, users can accomplish basic yet challenging missions such as opening doors and drawers, and retrieving medication. Betty, a Golden Retriever, was studied to understand her movements and relationship with commands.

Key to the success is Betty's ability to work with a towel attached to a drawer or door handle, which allows her to use her mouth for such actions as opening and closing. The robot was then successfully programmed to use the towel in a similar manner. For more information, go to: www.gatech.edu/newsroom/release.html?id=2219&ga=1

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