A student works with a robot on fine motor skills at The Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University. Photo: CMU

Robotic Chefs on the Menu at Carnegie Mellon University

Sony Corporation plans to continue collaborating on robotics and AI development at Pittsburgh-based Carnegie Mellon University⎯recently signing an agreement for a focus on food preparation robotics, according to a press release from the company, headquartered in Tokyo.

Sony stated that the robotics for food preparation, ordering and delivery could be applied to other fields.

“Applications could include those where machines must handle fragile and irregularly shaped materials and carry out complex household and small business tasks. Additionally, robots that are developed for food preparation and delivery would have to be able to operate in small areas, an ability which could be valuable for many other industries,” the press release stated.

No dollar figure was given for investment, but the company already expects to build on existing manipulation robotic technology, mobile robotics and AI software.

Sony plans to continue supporting CMU’s AI and robotics-related R&D efforts and startups through its Seed Acceleration Program (SAP), Sony’s business incubation platform, as well as the Sony Innovation Fund, a corporate venture capital fund.

Dr. Hiroaki Kitano, Corporate Executive at the Sony Corporation, will serve as project lead.

“This project has the potential to make the vast possibilities of AI and robotics more familiar and accessible to the general public,” said Dr. Kitano.  “Additionally, it could also assist those for whom daily tasks, such as food preparation, are challenging.”

Andrew Moore, dean of CMU’s School of Computer Science, said the college is “excited about the types of machines and software that might emerge as we jointly explore a variety of approaches and solutions.”