Mentor: Dr. Doug Blank
Robotics is becoming a rapidly growing facet of computer science research. Specifically, research in artificial intelligence (AI) and developmental robotics (the study of programming robots to learn independently) has become increasingly popular with the development of more sophisticated software and hardware. Now, instead of worrying about the costs of a robot or the limitations of current hardware or software, one of the biggest questions posed in this field of research is how one can program a robot to act autonomously (that is, how a robot can be programmed to think for itself, “feel” for itself, and make decisions based on its own motivations).
In our research we will be exploring these concepts through a humanoid robot. We will try programming behaviors for the robot to see how easily it can interact autonomously with its environment (possibly with the use of a camera, IR sensors, light sensors, or touch sensors), and determining what sort of programs allow the robot to learn more about its environment, and what sorts of programs cause the robot to best remember the locations of obstacles or other important objects in the environment. We will also allow the humanoid robot to be simulated in the robotics software Pyro (Python Robotics), so we may test developmental programs for the robot without having to use a physical robot.