Simon the robot has the ability to learn

The robot uses facial recognition, "blob detection," sound localization and more to get the job done

Simon the robot, who has the ability to learn new tasks, got his first public outing at the Computer Human Interaction conference in Atlanta Monday.

To view a full video report click here.

Prior to the show he was a project of researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology's Socially Intelligent Machines lab for three years.

"We're interested in machine learning algorithms where you don't need to necessarily be an expert in machine learning to interact," said Andrea Thomaz. She and her team of researchers are working on robots that could be installed in the home and don't need to be preprogrammed with a set of tasks.

At the CHI conference Simon's job was identifying a few colorful items: a blue book, a green plastic case, a red flower and several others, and putting them into the corresponding color's bin.

To begin teaching Simon, a researcher asks him, "Simon, can you hear me?" He responds in the ubiquitous text-to-speech voice, "Yes." The researcher then asks him if he wants to learn something and he reaches out his robotic arm and grabs whatever the researcher is holding. He brings it towards his face and looks at it. In one demonstration he was given a blue book and told to put the book in the blue bin. He rotated, dropped the book in the bin and said, "There you go."

Thomaz said one of the biggest challenges in developing Simon was system integration.

"We have Linux boxes, Macs, Windows PCs and basically any kind of machine, we're using it," she said. "We use OpenCV [Open Source Computer Vision] and lots of off-the-shelf things for speech recognition." She said that Simon does "blob detection," facial recognition and sound localization.

For now Simon only has a "body" from the waist up and can pivot on the platform he rests on. Behind him is a bank of four computer monitors displaying various information about the robot's status.

In case Simon goes haywire, there's a large red button next to him to turn him off.

As with many of the projects at CHI, there are no current plans for commercialization.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags robotsComputer Human Interaction conference

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Nick Barber

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?