The PR2 Robot will take care of your laundry

Most people find laundry sorting and folding a boring and uninteresting activity. For decades, robotics professionals have been trying to make people’s lives easier and create an autonomous system to do this work. So far, programming a robot to perform this activity has been a huge challenge for scientists.

It seems that the efforts of scientists have finally yielded serious results. Siddharth Srivastava, Abhishek Gupta, Pieter Abbeel, Stuart Russell, and Shlomo Zilberstein of the University of Massachusetts at the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence presented a robot capable of folding laundry without specific knowledge about them.

Sorting and folding laundry is one example of daily tasks that we do without thinking. However, this task is extremely difficult for automated machines.

One of the biggest challenges in programming robotic laundry is that linen is a deformable object, says researcher P. Abbeel. Clothes or towels look one way hung in a closet and otherwise in a pile of laundry.

Srivastava, one of the system’s creators, says most people expect future robots to clean their desk, sort laundry, and do other day-to-day tasks, but so far, programming this behavior presents many challenges. The researcher says the biggest difficulty is that the amount of laundry is not exactly clear when doing the laundry. Professor Sh. For this reason, Zilberstein emphasizes that the most important and difficult part of the system is to create what we call master plans – plans that work in many different situations, even without accurate information.

Scientists have used human behavior – pulling, stuffing, folding and gathering – as a template for robot behavior, and have applied certain aspects of human problem-solving that we apply in less-than-explicit situations. The scientists programmed a previously developed robot, PR2, to do the laundry. The PR2 robot was designed by Willow Garage engineers.

So far, the PR2 robot has been able to do all kinds of work. For example, engineers at Willow Garage programmed it to bring beer. All you have to do is select the type of beer you want through a special program. The robot goes to the fridge, opens it, and uses the camera to record what kind of beer it contains. After taking the beer from the fridge, the robot brings it and gives it to the person who ordered it, using the camera and face recognition technology. The robot can even open a beer using a regular opener.

From now on, the PR2 is capable of doing the laundry without knowing exactly how many clothes will be washed and what type. Unfortunately, the PR2 robot cannot distinguish between clean clothes and dirty work, and it does its job quite slowly. Nor is it flexible enough to reach the ground and lift a dropped garment, or to remove clothes from a washing machine. Nevertheless, it is perfectly capable of putting laundry in a basket, putting it in the washing machine, and folded neatly after washing.

This robot is an extremely useful and time-saving invention. The system developed can also be applied in a variety of areas where not all conditions are known in advance. For example, such robots can be adapted to work in factories or in space exploration, search and rescue operations.

Multifunctional Robot PR2

Staff at Willow Garage have created a customizable robot called Personal Robot 2 that can perform up to 7 different functions. In its appearance, the robot resembles a human. It has a base, torso, arms and legs. The PR2 can move, operate objects manually, and several sensors and sensors help sense and evaluate the surrounding environment. Because the android software comes with source code, it can be taught to do many things.

The robot finds the best sockets in any room and loads itself. He is also capable of transferring liquid from one glass to another, turning the pages of a book, picking up a pen or plate. The PR2 performs even more human-like operations, but also performs more complex operations.

1. Assemble the Rubik’s Cube

The robot picks up the task very quickly. At first, he carefully scans all the walls of the cube, picks up the cube in his “head” and then starts working. Of course PR2 was not designed to solve puzzles. This is just one of the research tools that make robotic testing possible.

2. Cook a meal

Which housewife would refuse such an assistant? He knows how to shake butter with sugar, break eggshell and bake cookies. Unfortunately, it’s not neat and leaves a mess in the kitchen.

Together with another robot, Rosie PR2 can bake a delicious cake. All he needs is access to the Internet and refrigerator products.

After receiving the task, the robot finds the required recipe and explains the whole cooking process. By scanning the barcodes, the machine selects the right products and starts the production by performing the usual operations of opening / closing the packaging, picking up the ingredients, cutting them, and so on. The price of the PR2 is quite high – 400 thousand dollars. So it is better to run the kitchen yourself and it will be cheaper and of course tastier!

3. Laundry and folding clothes

Many robots handle their various solid objects perfectly. And what about soft ones like a towel? What steps does the robot have to do? Can he handle a large pile of laundry?

Pieter Abbeel, a professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Berkeley University, and his students have created a robot that knows how to wash and flex clothes. In order for the robot to do its job correctly, programmers had to create thousands of lines of code. First of all, by holding the garment in its hands, the robot becomes acquainted with its geometry. And two wide-angle cameras – his “eyes” – allow the robot to create a 3D object model. One by one, the processor rejects all hypotheses until he finds the correct “I hold the shirt in the manipulator collar.” Then the “shirt” folding algorithm comes on. Although the robot’s movements are sudden, even slightly daunting, it folds nicely.

4. Read aloud

Employees of the University of Pennsylvania’s GRASP Lab have trained PR2 to recognize words. It can read any note aloud, from simple notes to long alerts on tables.
The robot learns to read just like children. For now, he can read short phrases. But as technology advances, robots will certainly be able to read, for example, tales for children or long stories.

5. Sort products

Stanford University researchers have developed a PR2 program that allows a robot to pick up objects, scan them by barcode, and even place them in shopping bags.

The robot recognizes objects according to the same principle as clothes. First he gets to know the object, explores its shape, and creates a three-dimensional projection. After doing this analysis, the robot decides how to pick things up better with its mechanical hands.

The robot also knows how to measure the size of an object and recognize it by scanning a barcode. So, PR2 can work as a cashier at the mall or as an assistant to a wealthy host while shopping in stores.

6. Sort opaque objects

Jivko Sinapov, a researcher at the University of Iowa’s Robotics Laboratory, will be able to sort opaque objects and determine what’s inside without opening them. He picks up the bottle, takes it from one hand to the other, turns and determines whether there is liquid or solid inside.

7. Play billiards

After all the difficult work, the robot must rest. The creators of Willow Garage taught their work to play billiards.

Built into the PR2’s head, the Polaroid camera helps you locate a ball on the pool table, using the trackpad to control the billiards. And thanks to the software, the robot can choose the most appropriate stroke option by hitting the ball.

It’s no secret that this robot is capable of so much! I think many would like to have one at home or at work. Imagine if this robot were to do all the work for you or fix the faulty stuff? One plug-in and this machine can make your life easier instantly. There is a case where this robot is turned into a workman and uses cordless rotary tools to perform simple tasks such as engraving or grinding. We hope that this robot will continue to be nurtured and refined, thus improving and performing many different life functions.

The PR2 robot learned how to pair socks

Engineers at Willow Garage have proven some time ago that their PR2 robot can be a full-fledged companion of the weekend by playing billiards, bringing beer from the fridge and even cleaning up the room after a party. However, researchers at the University of California, Berkeley (USA) have taught this machine another, but no less practical, task.

Turns out, PR2 can be a great helper during the “slower” days of the week as well. For example, he can pair pairs of washed socks perfectly. Using simple repetitive motions, the robot is able to translate socks with the right side and place them one on top of the other for storage in the closet.
Pairing socks is, of course, a much more difficult challenge than simply folding a towel or other non-simple textile. When a robot is provided with two socks, it must first determine whether they are equally spaced and that both are translated correctly (not to mention whether they are of the same species at all). So the mechanism first aligns them properly, then finds the right pickup points and then starts working. The video below is accelerated 15 times – probably anyone would do it faster.