Monday, April 16, 2007

MIT Robot Has Human-Like Eyes

Photos top to bottom: MST3K's Crow T. Robot, MIT's Domo

As you can see from the photos, giving robots large human-looking eyes is hardly a new idea, but MIT seems to be making a big deal out of it.

A new breed of robots could soon break free of assembly line duties to assist human living in myriad ways.

MIT researchers recently demonstrated the capabilities of such a robot, named Domo, which, like the robot in a recent General Motors ad, can transcend mass-production's repetition. It is designed to interact with humans and adapt to its environment in ways previously only imagined in science fiction.

Presently, Domo can identify objects, reach for them and place them on shelves. Unlike an assembly-line robot, Domo can sense its surroundings using a pair of video cameras for eyes; they are connected to 12 computers. The cameras are built into remarkably human-looking "eyeballs," for a reason, said Domo's developer, Aaron Edsinger.

"I found that, by making them immediately understandable as eyes, it was very easy to read [Domo's] eye-gaze direction, which is important when working with it," Edsinger said. "They also greatly increase people's comfort level with the robot."

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