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CMU To Develop Robot Cooks In Sony Partnership

Courtesy of Carnegie Mellon University
Manuala Veloso and a student walk with her autonomous robot, CoBot, that runs errands inside the Gates and Hillman centers.

Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Computer Science and Sony Corporation are collaborating to create robots that can prepare and deliver food.

Manuala Veloso, the project’s lead, heads CMU’s Machine Learning Department. She said that designing a robot that can cook a simple meal is tricky and pioneering.

“We don’t know exactly where to start,” she said. “I currently have a robot arm that can scoop rice out of a bowl. And put it on a plate. That’s already a difficult task.”

To achieve this goal, researchers will have to have to design robots that are capable of taking multiple food orders. They’ll also need to increase a robot’s dexterity and mobility so the machines can handle ingredients of different sizes, textures and contours.

“[For example] the amount of force you do on a carrot versus a tomato,” said Veloso.

One day this technology may be used to help people who find daily tasks, like cooking, difficult. But Veloso says it will likely because years before robots take over our kitchens.

Sarah Boden covers health and science for 90.5 WESA. Before coming to Pittsburgh in November 2017, she was a reporter for Iowa Public Radio where she covered a range of issues, including the 2016 Iowa Caucuses.
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