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Student's Robot Becomes Intel's Processor Demo

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 31 comments

A final project for a senior's UA cognitive robotics class led to Intel knocking on his door with a check.

Mat Bunting, a University of Arizona electrical-engineering senior, saw dollar signs in his eyes when Intel came knocking on his door. Apparently a video he uploaded to YouTube (seen below) prompted the processor giant to track down and flash cash in his face. Why? It's all because of a dancing hexapod robot he built using an Intel Atom processor.

It only took two days for the YouTube robot to spark a glimmer in Intel's eye. On a hardware level, the robot uses the 1.60 GHz Atom Z530 processor and the US15W chipset. The robotic spider also runs on the Ubuntu open-source operating system, and features a camera on its "face" that helps the robot determine where it's going. The robot even "adaptively learns" how to best achieve its forward-moving goal.

"One of the things I wanted to explore was the idea of reinforcement learning," Bunting said. "What I wanted to do was not pre-program any of those walking algorithms, I wanted it to figure out how to walk straight forward on its own. It has the ability to figure it out itself."

According to CNET, the spider robot was the result of a final project in Bunting's UA class on cognitive robotics using spare parts. After spotting the robot, Intel ordered two units to use in Atom demonstrations on the road. CrustCrawler Robotics was also impressed, and signed on Bunting to develop software for several of its products.

Spider Bot

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  • 24 Hide
    JasonAkkerman , February 10, 2010 7:40 PM
    Student's Robot Becomes Intel's Processor Demo.... also searches for Sarah Connor.
  • 16 Hide
    killerclick , February 10, 2010 7:38 PM
    Look, you either build cool robots or get laid, you can't have both...
  • 16 Hide
    botabota , February 10, 2010 7:42 PM
    should try putting an octacore in there ... maybe it will be like transformer
Other Comments
  • 16 Hide
    killerclick , February 10, 2010 7:38 PM
    Look, you either build cool robots or get laid, you can't have both...
  • 14 Hide
    Tech-Boy , February 10, 2010 7:38 PM
    Were is the video???
  • 24 Hide
    JasonAkkerman , February 10, 2010 7:40 PM
    Student's Robot Becomes Intel's Processor Demo.... also searches for Sarah Connor.
  • 16 Hide
    botabota , February 10, 2010 7:42 PM
    should try putting an octacore in there ... maybe it will be like transformer
  • 12 Hide
    JasonAkkerman , February 10, 2010 7:42 PM
    The robot even "adaptively learns" how to best achieve its forward-moving goal.

    "My CPU is a neural net processor; a learning computer."
  • 14 Hide
    Tomtompiper , February 10, 2010 7:43 PM
    Nice to see Intel supporting young talent.
  • 3 Hide
    kodamakage , February 10, 2010 7:53 PM
    Heres a better source (with videos)
    http://www.engineering.arizona.edu/news/story.php?id=114
  • 7 Hide
    Upendra09 , February 10, 2010 8:02 PM
    should have copyrighted it and used different processors

    and then created a new company and sold them all

    then we would have AMD vs Intel dancing robots
  • 5 Hide
    mtyermom , February 10, 2010 8:18 PM
    Mr. Bunting has a bright future, indeed!
  • 6 Hide
    flyinfinni , February 10, 2010 8:18 PM
    That is a SWEET robot, and a brilliant kid. Wish I was smart enough to do that.
  • 6 Hide
    touchdowntexas13 , February 10, 2010 8:42 PM
    killerclickLook, you either build cool robots or get laid, you can't have both...


    What if building these cool robots brings in loads of cash? I think he might be able to get both then...
  • 3 Hide
    grieve , February 10, 2010 8:49 PM
    flyinfinniThat is a SWEET robot, and a brilliant kid. Wish I was smart enough to do that.

    no doubt... im not a dummy by any means but some people are just impressive.
    that spider moves awesome. "imaginary springs" very smart!
  • 0 Hide
    ikefu , February 10, 2010 9:07 PM
    Quick! Kill it before it turns into Skynet and spawns more cheesy movie sequels!!!!!

    PS I wish my senior project was cool enough to get me paid.
  • 4 Hide
    gayan , February 10, 2010 9:24 PM
    Oh no...it has begun... The Attack of the Dancing Robots...
  • 2 Hide
    matt87_50 , February 10, 2010 9:29 PM
    yeah thats cool. so did he build a custom motherboard?

    he could have just as easily done his experiment in a simulation.

    but robots are so cool! the only thing cooler than programming games is programming robots!
  • 0 Hide
    milktea , February 10, 2010 9:31 PM
    First off, nothing on that robot looks like spare parts to me. Second, it would be cool if it ran off of solar power instead of a wired external power. If that Atom process ran off of solar, that would have caught everyone's attention.

    None the less, Bunting made a very cool robot.
  • 6 Hide
    karenskym , February 10, 2010 10:56 PM
    I think we've found the guy who creates skynet... We must stop him before the inevitable happens.
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , February 11, 2010 12:23 AM
    mildtea said
    First off, nothing on that robot looks like spare parts to me. Second, it would be cool if it ran off of solar power instead of a wired external power. If that Atom process ran off of solar, that would have caught everyone's attention.

    None the less, Bunting made a very cool robot.

    That's when robots start harvesting humans for energy
  • 6 Hide
    pythy , February 11, 2010 12:57 AM
    Very cool indeed, but that's no robotic spider: it's only got 6 legs!! Should be called a robotic ant instead.
  • 3 Hide
    karenskym , February 11, 2010 1:02 AM
    pythyVery cool indeed, but that's no robotic spider: it's only got 6 legs!! Should be called a robotic ant instead.


    Good observation Taxidermist!
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