NVIDIA has opened a new lab in Seattle, and it’s meant to serve as home for all its robotics projects. Over 50 research scientists and students from the University of Washington will work in the facility under NVIDIA’s senior director of robotics research Dieter Fox. He explained that the lab will bring “together a collaborative, interdisciplinary team of experts in robot control and perception, computer vision, human-robot interaction and deep learning.”
NVIDIA is hoping that the lab can give rise to the next-generation of robots that can work with humans in open-ended environments not designed specifically for them. In fact, one of its main projects right now is a kitchen helper machine, which is powered by NVIDIA’s Jetson platform and Titan GPUs and can function in an actual kitchen.
This “kitchen manipulator” relies on deep learning to detect and track specific objects based on its own simulation — it doesn’t need a map of the place beforehand and can quickly adapt to changes in its surroundings. It can even open and close doors and drawers to get objects and tools. Due to the ever changing nature of a kitchen, Fox sees it as the ideal location for testing. A robot that can deal with a dozen littered pans, spatulas and ingredients will likely be able to navigate other complex environments, after all.