NVIDIA is not particularly well known for robotics, but that's about to change. As of just a few weeks ago, NVIDIA has established a shiny new robotics research lab in Seattle, within an easy stroll of the University of Washington. The NVIDIA AI Robotics Research Lab is led by Dieter Fox, a professor of computer science and engineering at UW, and will eventually grow to house "close to 50 research scientists, faculty visitors, and student interns." NVIDIA's goal is to help robots make the difficult transition from working in the lab just long enough to publish a paper to working out in the real world in a reliable and useful way. "The charter of the lab is to drive breakthrough robotics research to enable the next generation of robots that perform complex manipulation tasks to safely work alongside humans and transform industries such as manufacturing, logistics, healthcare, and more."
Robots in factories today are powerful and precise, but dumb as toast. A new robot arm, developed by a team of researchers from UC Berkeley, is meant to change that by providing a cheap-yet-powerful platform for AI experimentation. The team likens their creation to the Apple II, the personal computer that attracted hobbyists and hackers in the 1970s and '80s, ushering in a technological revolution. Robots and AI have evolved in parallel as areas of research for decades. In recent years, however, AI has advanced rapidly when applied to abstract problems like labeling images or playing video games.
Your next sous-chef in the kitchen may be a robot. Semiconductor giant Nvidia has debuted its'kitchen manipulator' robot that uses AI and machine learning to be able to identify ingredients. The hope is that as the robot gets smarter, it can one day work alongside humans to help cook a meal. Your next sous-chef in the kitchen may be a robot. Nvidia has debuted its'kitchen manipulator' robot that uses AI and machine learning to be able to identify ingredients Nvidia's kitchen robot is just one of several other robots in development at the firm's new lab in Seattle, which is meant to oversee all of its robotics projects.
This week, the computer chip company Nvidia opened a new robotics lab in Seattle. The lab has a lot of what you might expect–loads of electronics and robotic parts, work spaces, and computers everywhere–but the centerpiece is a bit unorthodox: It's an Ikea kitchen. That's because University of Washington robotics professor Dieter Fox, who is on leave from the university to head up this Nvidia lab, believes that the kitchen is the perfect test-bed for the robots of the future. Right now, most commercialized robots are either navigation robots that can deliver items from point A to point B in warehouses, hospitals, hotels, and maybe even urban areas, or they're "manipulation" robots, which are almost entirely found in factories. These robots move objects around, and they're optimized to do so over and over again in a very precise way.
We tend to associate NVIDIA with graphics cards, and more specifically, the graphics processing units (GPUs) that go inside them, but the company has a much broader focus. For example, NVIDIA is heavily invested in artificial intelligence technologies. As part of that, NVIDIA recently opened up a robotics lab in Seattle near the University of Washington campus to research and develop the next generation of artificially intelligent robots. NVIDIA opened the lab in November with 14 researchers and expects to triple that number by midyear, which also factors in visiting faculty and interns. Dieter Fox, senior director of robotics research at NVIDIA and professor at the University of Washington's Paul G. Allen School of Computer and Science and Engineering, leads the new research lab.