Grace was the star of a symposium on artificial intelligence held last week in Edmonton, Canada.
Grace is a robot, but it's also an acronym for Graduate Robot Attending Conference. Cute, isn't?
With such a nickname, you would expect it to be -- graceful. Judge by yourself. Here is a picture provided by BusinessWeek.
Now, let's come back to her -- or its -- job.
Without human guidance or a preprogrammed map, Grace was to find her way to the registration counter of the American Association for Artificial Intelligence's 2002 conference [or AAAI event], sign in, navigate to the elevators leading to the conference rooms, "schmooze" with people in the elevator and hallways, take her place behind the podium, and deliver a lecture about herself.
Even on the eve of the AAAI event, Grace's chief creator, Reid Simmons of Carnegie Mellon University, was hesitant about the robot's upcoming performance. He said he'd be happy if Grace accomplished even half of its mission.
Simmons needn't have worried. Grace came through with flying colors, although she took five minutes longer than he expected -- a total of 50 minutes from when she was dropped off outside the conference center to the time she reached her speaker's podium.
One other robot, from Boston's iRobot Corp., completed the entire routine, but its actions were remotely controlled by a human operator. Its trek from the building's entrance to the podium took 20 minutes compared to Grace's 50. "That's now our next goal -- to do it as fast as a human-operated robot," says Simmons.
Source: Otis Port, BusinessWeek Online, August 2, 2002