Robotics & Graphics Open House

Interactive Demos - Free Pizza

Friday, September 7, 2007 at 12:00 Noon

CIT 4th Floor

Robotics Demos

Interactive control of the DLR hand

Human control of robotic systems with a large number of DOFs is often difficult due to the overwhelming number of variables that need to be specified. We developed a method for controlling such systems using only a small number of input variables. Motivated by prosthetic applications, we applied our method on the control of a robot hand. Come and control the DLR robot hand using the mouse or a wiimote!

An insight into R,LAB's latest robotics platform the SmURV

Robots either cost a lot of money or require hundreds of hours to be built; sometimes even both. A new Brown robotics platform, the SmURV, is made up of off-the-shelf computer components. Come and see how easy it is to build one yourself!

Human-Robot Teams

We present a robotic system that integrates person and gesture recognition with speech recognition and synthesis. This results in a natural, hands-free interactive system.

Robotic Video Games

A video game using Nintendo Wii Remotes as controllers for Sony AIBO dogs playing soccer. This is an interactive demo, so viewers will be allowed and encouraged to pick up a Wii Remote and join the fun!

Robot learning from Demonstration

Programming a robot to perform a task can be a long, arduous undertaking. We are exploring ways in which users can demonstrate tasks to robots in an intuitive manner and the robot learns to perform the task. Participants can interact with the robots and attempt to teach them new behaviors.

Graphics Demos


Molecules are inherently three-dimensional objects that are represented by chemists on paper and classroom blackboards by a system of two-dimensional notations. ChemPad, a new Tablet PC application with a pedagogical focus, generates 3D molecular structures from hand drawn digital ink rather than from traditional molecule construction interfaces.

ChemPad allows chemists to sketch molecules in a quick and natural fashion to generate 3D models. This capability gives ChemPad pedagogical value as shown by our user study of a hundred organic chemistry students who had difficulty with 3D chemistry thinking and used ChemPad to overcome that hurdle.

Math Recognition & Error Correction

The Math Error Correction project is concerned with the user interface aspects of entering mathematical notations on a pen-based computer. The sometimes ambiguous nature of mathematical notation and the irregular, imprecise and ambiguous nature of human handwriting conspire to produce inconsistencies between what the human and the computer perceive. We have developed a sophisticated mathematic handwriting recognizer, and a handful of visualization techniques to aid the user in identifying parsing errors. Our demo also includes techniques for correcting the errors and for incorporating the math into a more general writing environment.


MathPad2 is a prototype Tablet PC application that allows users to make dynamic illustrations by combining handwritten mathematical expressions with sketched drawings. This combination allows for animated illustrations that aid users in understanding mathematics, physics and engineering concepts. Users can also graph and solve equations as well as simplify and factor expressions with a simple gestural interface. The prototype makes use of Matlab as a computational back end and also has a sophisticated, trainable math recognition front end. Users can label their sketched diagrams and the system uses these labels to determine the associated mathematics. Output from Matlabis used to drive simple animations so users can observe diagram behavior.

Unlike other mathematics systems that require typed linear notations, MathPad2 uses natural 2D mathematical notation. In addition, the experience islive and interactive in contrast to a static paper notebook. With MathPad2, we have a powerful electronic problem solving notebook that utilizes pencil-and-paper style input with pen-based computing that can dramatically change how students learn and work.


Our goal is to make the process of producing 2D diagrams much easier and more efficient. The observation that most diagrams can be sketched with a pen in a few seconds, while other interfaces (e.g., keyboard and mouse) wouldrequire much more time and seem tedious by comparison is why we believe a pen-based interface is probably the best interface for producing the kinds of diagrams most people need. However, an initial sketch can be many steps away from a completed diagram and what is needed is an end-to-end process that preserves the efficiency and ease with which an initial sketch can be made.

Host: Chad Jenkins

**Illustrated PDF