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DARPA selects RE2 to bring robotic control to the general public

1st February 2011 - 08:20 GMT | by The Shephard News Team


RE2, Inc., a leading developer of intelligent modular manipulation systems, announced today that it has been selected by DARPA to develop a dual-arm robot and accompanying software simulation tool for the Autonomous Robotic Manipulation (ARM) program's Outreach Track.

Multiple manipulator systems with high-end perception sensors are very costly to purchase for research and development purposes. Therefore, DARPA plans to provide an ARM research platform that can be shared by all researchers. As researchers develop their sensing and control algorithms, they can use the simulator to test, verify, collect data, and debug their research before executing the algorithms on the dual-arm robot. Because use of the highly dexterous dual-arm robot resource will be shared by developers across the country, researchers need a software tool that can be used to validate their control algorithms before testing on the actual robotic hardware.

"Providing global access to such a capable robotic platform is unprecedented and will open the world of robotics to students and researchers alike. People will interface with the simulator exactly as they would interact with one of the research robots," stated Douglas Peters, project manager of the Track-C simulator project, referring to the DARPA ARM research program. "By providing a robust software simulation tool to the ARM program's manipulation researchers and the outreach participants, the chances of executing coordinated bi-manual manipulation will greatly increase," stated Dr. Patrick Rowe, vice president of research and development for RE2.

DARPA's outreach track, which will make available an ARM robot for public use, will allow anyone the opportunity to write software, test it, upload it to the actual system and watch via the Internet as the DARPA ARM robot executes that software. Teams and individuals involved in this outreach track will be able to collaborate with other teams around the world.

"We are pleased that DARPA continues to entrust RE2 with critical components of its ARM program. In addition to the software simulation for the outreach track, RE2 is the system integrator for the ARM program and has successfully delivered the dual-arm robotic platforms for the ARM research teams," stated Jorgen Pedersen, president and CEO of RE2, Inc.

The goal of the four-year ARM program is to develop software and hardware that enables a robot to autonomously grasp and manipulate to perform complicated tasks with a human providing only high-level direction.

Source: DARPA

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