University of Oklahoma researchers have built a mobile robot using an Apple Mac Mini and Apple iSight camera for tele-operation. The purpose of this project is to see what it is like to control to robot using the built-in visual and aural sensors before designing an agent to do the same task. The robot is a Pioneer 3-AT made by ActivMedia and the Mac Mini was graciously provided by Apple computer at no charge. Dr. Amy McGovern provided the iSight camera.
The tests were preformed at the Stephenson Research and Technology Center located at University of Oklahoma. The researchers, part of the Artificial Intelligence Research laboratory in Computer Science, were interested in evaluating the Mac Mini because of its small size, built-in wireless and firewire capabilities.
Tele-operation is achieved using the Mac Mini’s built-in wireless capability. The Aria demo software (running on the Mac Mini) is used to control the Pioneer 3-AT (via ssh from the control computer). A USB-to-serial adapter connects the Mac Mini to the Pioneer 3-AT. iChat transmits the audio/video data from the iSight camera back to the control computer. The blue device that looks like a coffee maker is a Sick laser range finder.
More info and photos here.