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Prof. Edwin Olson on sensing and perception for robots

Prof. Olson’s research includes finding ways for robots to sense and understand their environment while coping with uncertainty and ambiguity. The perception problem is central to a variety of practical applications, from indoor robots that can lead tours or deliver mail to autonomous cars that can navigate urban environments. His work includes both fundamental algorithm research (optimization, state estimation, classification) and system building.  

Vulcan: The Intelligent Robotic Wheelchair

Prof. Ben Kuipers, CSE graduate student Collin Johnson, and ME graduate student Jong Jin Park have created Vulcan, an intelligent robotic wheelchair. Vulcan learns the spatial structure of the environment it moves through and it uses that knowledge to plan and follow routes from place to place. Robotic wheelchairs will benefit people who need a wheelchair, but are unable to use one because of multiple disabilities.  

Software that is better at detecting deception than you are

By studying videos from high-stakes court cases, University of Michigan researchers are building unique lie-detecting software based on real-world data.   Their prototype considers both the speaker’s words and gestures, and unlike a polygraph, it doesn’t need to touch the subject in order to work. In experiments, it was up to 75 percent accurate in identifying who was being deceptive (as defined by trial outcomes), compared with humans’ scores of just above 50 percent. The system might one day be a helpful tool for security agents, juries and even mental health professionals.  

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