Watch a Sawyer Robot Give out Halloween Candy

Georgia Tech's Robot Autonomy and Interactive Learning Lab used a Rethink Robotics' Sawyer cobot to hand out 1,000 pieces of candy in three hours to trick or treaters.

Rethink Robotics has been involved in some fun projects over the years. We’ve recently seen Baxter involved in studies about brain-controlled robots and how robots can help blind people navigate urban environments, just to name a couple.

Here’s a new project that doesn’t disappoint, either. Georgia Tech’s Robot Autonomy and Interactive Learning Lab (RAIL) used a Sawyer cobot to hand out candy to trick or treaters. The cobot, set up at the house of Sonia Chernova, an assistant professor at GT’s School of Interactive Computing, gave out 1,000 pieces of candy in three hours.

According to RAIL, Sawyer, which wore a hat, cape and mask, was trained on what to do in less than one hour. The research team simply showed the robot the motions that were required. Normally, Sawyer would be able to detect the kids and their bags to drop in the candy using one of its cameras, but Chernova tells Robotics Trends that Halloween presents a special challenge

“It’s dark, and the porch is very crowded, and not so much by people as by dinosaurs, ghosts and masked villains,” Chernova says. “Person detection doesn’t work very well in this situation, so we just had the robot drop the candy off in the same spot every time, and the kids positioned their bags where needed.”

Chernova is already thinking about other fun ways to use Sawyer, saying that perhaps “we’ll have Sawyer carve a turkey on Thanksgiving or hang ornaments during the holidays.”

The (RAIL) lab is all about making robots more accessible to people, and this project accomplished just that.

“It was fun to watch the faces of the kids when they walked up to the house,” Chernova said. “Everyone wanted to know who was remotely controlling the robot, but everything was autonomous. It was a lot of fun!”

Sawyer Robot Gives out Halloween Candy

About the Author

Steve Crowe · Steve Crowe is managing editor of Robotics Trends. Steve has been writing about technology since 2008. He lives in Belchertown, MA with his wife and daughter.
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