Yesterday Georgia Tech's PR2 robot made a LIVE appearance on CNN. The event was accompanied by interviews of Dr. Charlie Kemp (director of Georgia Tech's Healthcare Robotics Lab and my advisor) and Keenan Wyrobek (Willow Garage figurehead). Travis Deyle (yours truly) was also present and responsible for the robot demonstration. While some of the PR2's movements (some driving, waving to the audience, etc) were scripted or teleoperated via joystick, the actual medication delivery demonstration was fully autonomous and used UHF RFID sensing (a major component of my PhD research), the base laser rangefinder, and a slightly-modified TrajectoryPlannerROS. The demo went off without a hitch, and as Keenan mentioned on the PR2-Users mailing list, "Their demo is a milestone (albeit a gutsy one) for PR2. The first nationally televised, LIVE, sensor-based demo with a PR2." Check out the video (embedded below), as well as some behind-the-scenes pictures of the PR2 inside CNN's studio.
For those interested in the Ultra-High Frequency (UHF) Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) sensing that was used to perform the autonomous demonstration, check out "RFID-Guided Robots for Pervasive Automation" or the Healthcare Robotics Lab's page on "RFID in Robotics."
I'd like to take a moment to thank two people without whom the event never would have happened: Marc Killpack (my labmate, who was instrumental in relocating the PR2) and Christina Ginn ("The Big I" producer). It took quite an effort to make everything come together, but it was worth it. We performed a bit of on-site testing in CNN's studio on Tuesday (the original segment was supposed to be on Wednesday but was rescheduled on account of the Chilean miners' rescue), during which we snapped some pictures...
The Healthcare Robotics crew. From left-to-right: Dr. Charlie Kemp, Hai Nguyen, Georgia Tech's PR2, Travis Deyle (yours truly), and Marc Killpack.
Testing out the autonomous demo.
Preparations with our patient CNN producer, Christina Ginn:
Marc and I basking in the CNN studio's goodness.
Most of the HD cameras in CNN's new studio are robotic -- pretty cool (left). Oh, and did I mention that I coded up that little "audience hand wave" service and tied it into the joystick controller in about five minutes, with live filming nearby (right)?
In the end, everything went off without a hitch. Thanks everyone!