Back in May 2008 it was announced that CMU professors Sara Kiesler and Jodi Forlizzi (from the HCI Institute) and Paul Rybski (from the Robotics Institute) were awarded $500k in Microsoft's Human-Robot Interaction funding to develop a social, snack-selling robot to traverse Newell-Simon and Wean halls (press release). After seeing a prototype appear on Flickr in July, we've all been waiting patiently to see pictures of the final version. Well, the wait is over -- photos of the new CMU snackbot, conceptual designs, and construction photos are contained below! It appears that the CMU team is progressing nicely.
In addition, tantalizing pictures of design, as well as build photos, have appeared on industrial designer, Erik Glaser's, homepage!
The design looks quite professional; it reaffirms my appreciation for industrial designers. You can also see the custom paint-job being applied to the robot's exterior. From Erik:
We crafted a full-scale blue foam model, from which fiberglass molds were created. Outlaw Performance, located outside Pittsburgh, then proceeded to lay up the fiberglass shells. We also designed the internal skeleton and are in the process of assembling the robot and installing its internal electronics. Once these additional 4 shells and skeletons are complete (we are selling two of these robots to Stanford University) the shells will be painted by an autobody shop according to our designs.
I think we can also begin to make estimates of hardware costs -- from the images, one can clearly see the SICK laser rangefinder mounted atop a Pioneer. Again, I'm always impressed with the skills of industrial designers to make robots look great -- the designers made several early (and impressive) design sketches.
While we can appreciate the attractive artists' renditions, us robot-folks are all about the robot body parts strewn about the lab.
Can anyone weigh in on when Snackbot is expected to be operational?