Date Posted: 11/05/2014

MIT Technology Review's "Question of the Week" of October 15, 2014, "Can Humans Benefit from Robots in the Workplace?" had the following description of the "Tell Me Dave" project, led by PhD students Dipendra K. Misra and Jaeyong Sung and Ashutosh Saxena:

Cornell researcher Ashutosh Saxena wants people to be able to use casual language to give robots instructions. At the university's Robot Learning Lab, Saxena is programming robots to know their environment via three-dimensional scanning technology and understand basic commands. Researchers give the example of telling a robot to cook noodles. Normally, that would require a rigid set of instructions covering everything from where the stove is to how to turn it on. If one detail is missing, the robot would be unable to carry out the task. With Saxena's technology, the robot could understand slight variations of the same command, like "take the pot" or "carry the pot," and use visual cues to trace a path to the stove or sink just from seeing its surroundings.