Future Robotics Summit

Dec 11, 2011   //   by sam   //   Outreach & Media  //  No Comments

This past Friday Aaron and I attended the Future Robotics Summit at the Microsoft NERD center. Let’s just say that it was amazing, very eye opening, and utterly fantastic. Seeing the new robotics breakthroughs that are taking place in Massachusetts fascinated Aaron and I, not to mention the many engineers in the audience.

Aaron Sam and PR2

Aaron Sam and PR2

 

Aaron and ostrich leg

Aaron and ostrich leg

I must say that we were the youngest in the crowd and sadly the only FIRST team that attended. Although, not surprisingly, one of the speakers was from FIRST, although from FRC. When he asked how many people in the crowd knew about FIRST, almost everyone in the audience raised their hands! Aaron and I were both proud to be attending the event, and able to speak highly of FIRST’s mission to inspire kids. After the presentations, we then had a tour of the CSAIL labs. CSAIL stands for Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory.

Aaron and I were able to see the many things that CSAIL is working on, from quadrotors, underwater robots to ornithopters and more quadrotors. Did I mention that CSAIL likes working with quadrotors? Aaron and I were both impressed by Russ Tedrake’s lab that is working with control systems that can’t be modeled, such as the mechanical replica of an ostrich leg which intrigued both Aaron and I. We were also amazed by the amount of quadrotors on which CSAIL is working. Anything from team-working to map and SLAM based navigation, if it has four propellors CSAIL is probably working on something like it.

After the tour, Aaron and I were able to go back to some of the labs and talk to some of the graduate students working in the labs. It was really interesting to see and learn about the different projects that each student is working on, again ranging from quadrotors to humanoid robots (but mostly quadrotors). We were even able to work with the Ostrich leg and see how the different mechanical pieces played a role in making the whole leg work. We hope to be able to go back tot he CSAIL lab as a team on our MIT day during December break.

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