PR2 Robot Can Read Anything

The PR2 robot has been known to do many things.  Now, the PR2 has been programmed to do another thing which is quite impressive: it can read anything it sees.  At the University of Pennsylvania, the students there have been studying and programing the performance of robots in what is know as the GRASP lab.  This lab has taught a Willow Garage PR2 robot how to read, but not just read, read out loud.

The lab has made it so the PR2 can scan it’s environment, locate text, and convert it into speech.  The video included shows Menglong Zhu, a graduate student at UPenn, demonstrating how impressive this robots understanding of literature really is.

The robot goes through a series of reading tests reading every from posters to signs.  The PR2 can even read handwritten messages.  As impressive is that is though, it can do all of this at different angles.  Reading robots may not be the latest news though, in fact there are other robots that can read books.  It’s true that PR2 is not the first reading robot, but there are other things that set it apart from the competition.

First off, PR2 is not a dedicated reading robot.  It has a whole range of different activities that it can perform.  What the GRASP lab did was take a robot that had already been developed to do various things, and made it do capable of reading.  This means that this life-sized robot can do much more than just read.

Another thing is that all the programming and results that were produced by the team are open source, which means that it will be shared with the ROS (Robot Operating System) library.  What this ultimately means is that not only will GRASP’s PR2 benefit from this development, but any ROS enabled robot anywhere could make use of this code.  After all, this isn’t the only PR2 out there being coded, and certainly not the last robot development that we’ll see.

You’ll also want to take a look at Luna, the personal telepresence robot, and LOCH, Singapore’s most sophisticated full-scale robot.

Via: Singularity Hub