We are excited about how well Simon did at the CHI 2010 Interactive Demo session last week. Our demo got a lot of traffic, especially during the opening event on Monday evening, and even got some coverage on PC World (who did the video below), engadget, and NPR.
This was Simon’s first venture out of the lab, so it has been interesting for forcing us to do more on-board perception, and generally putting the platform through its paces. We were doing an interactive learning demo, using active learning, where Simon learns a “cleaning up” task. The human teacher provides examples of what goes where. Simon uses these examples to build a model of what goes in each location. The teacher can also ask Simon if he has any questions, and the robot will point to or pick up an object that it is least certain about where it goes. In addition to learning, we added perception capabilities to give Simon more ambient awareness of the environment, with an attention mechanisms that pays attention to visually salient cues as determined by the Itti saliency model, as well as faces, and loud sounds.
Simon got to interact with hundreds of people, and was particularly popular with kids of the conference attendees.
And also got to meet the designer of his head shells, Carla Diana, who finally got to see the finished product in person.