Wednesday January 23, 2019

Nvidia GPUs Might Help You Cook Soon

While some Nvidia graphics cards were notorious for getting (nearly) hot enough to cook breakfast, Nvidia seemingly wants to help out in the kitchen in a different way. The company recently established the NVIDIA AI Robotics Research Lab in Seattle, just outside the University of Washington. One of the stated goals of the lab is to "enable the next generation of robots that perform complex manipulation tasks to safely work alongside humans," and in that vein, they've opted to test an Nvidia robotics platform (that's presumably powered by Nvidia machine learning hardware) inside a kitchen. in an interview with IEEE Spectrum, the head of the lab said that the kitchen is a "rich, challenging environment" for a robot, and that it's easy to standardize for robotics research. Check out the video of Nvidia's kitchen bot below:

The mobile manipulator in the video is Franka Emika's Panda arm mounted on top of an NVIDIA development platform. The plan is to eventually upgrade the robot to dual arms, probably an omnidirectional base, and definitely more integrated sensors. The sensors in particular are key to what NVIDIA wants to focus on, which is getting robots to safely and effectively work around (and with) humans. But there's a lot more research that goes into making useful human-friendly robots: grasping, manipulation, computer vision, object recognition, human-robot interaction and collaboration-the company has plenty of work to do.