Robotics

SRI is delivering the promise of state-of-the-art robotics to government and commercial markets. Our robotics teams invent, apply, and commercialize components, software, and systems that are spearheading the robot revolution. Examples of our innovations include:

SRI researchers have a long, rich tradition of pushing the boundaries of robotics. Our heritage includes the foundational intellectual property (IP) used in Shakey the Robot, Intuitive Surgical's da Vinci surgical system, and the enabling patents for electroactive polymer artificial muscle. Our pioneering developments in robotics have evolved into a solid, comprehensive program that spans multiple disciplines and features expertise in artificial intelligence, algorithm development, sensors research, and product development.

Projects

the ARM-H robotic hand

SRI and partners are developing highly dexterous low-cost robotic hands for military applications and other real-world uses.

ground vehicle with complex mapping sensor system

SRI is developing technology that will enable warfighters to easily maneuver a robot, precisely map an environment, and have 3D situational awareness.

illustration of a security camera with watching eyes

SRI’s visual intelligence system could enable a new era in unmanned robotic surveillance.

green boxes highlighting people walking on street

SRI’s vision-based systems enable safe operations of moving unmanned ground vehicles around stationary and moving people in urban or cluttered environments.

SRI's micro robots arrayed on a surface

SRI is developing new technology to reliably control thousands of micro-robots for smart manufacturing of macro-scale products in compact, integrated systems.

Products + Solutions

electroadhesive surface-climbing robot

SRI offers licenseable surface- and wall-climbing robot prototypes for surveillance, inspection, and sensor placement applications.

electroadhesion demonstrated with a wall-climbing robot

SRI’s breakthrough electroadhesion technology, available for license, allows electrically controlled reversible adhesion
 to most surfaces.

demonstration of artificial muscle

SRI has patented a thin, flexible, smart material dubbed “artificial muscle” because it behaves much like a human muscle. Artificial muscle, available for license from SRI for a variety of application areas, uses a breakthrough technology called electroactive polymers.

man remotely guiding a surgical robot

SRI’s telerobotic surgical system, M7, expands the reach of surgical intervention by enhancing the precision of minimally invasive procedures and enabling surgeons to operate from afar.

Karto software

Decades of leading-edge SRI robotics and artificial intelligence research has produced Karto™—robust software for use in robotic navigation, mapping, and exploration.

Taurus Dexterous Robot held by a researcher

SRI is developing Taurus, a potentially life-saving telemanipulation tool for military and domestic bomb squads to defuse vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices (VBIEDs). Following field trials, Taurus enters commercial markets in 2012.

magnetic encoding equipment

Until recently, there has not been a reliable, accurate, and inexpensive means to sense the motion and location of machine components such as hydraulic cylinders.

Press Releases

event logo

Taking place during National Robotics Week, the event brings together some of the industry’s foremost thought leaders to discuss current trends in robotics while exploring the business, social and innovation implications for the coming years.

recovery of Bluefin-12 S from A-frame

Advanced hydrocarbon survey capabilities of the integrated system are ideally suited for oil and gas data collection requirements.

Grabit logo

Grabit, an SRI spin-off company, is commercializing cutting-edge electroadhesion technology for manufacturing and logistics.

robot arm

Leading thinkers and innovators will gather at SRI headquarters in Menlo Park, California on April 11 to explore how robots are transforming the economy at Xconomy’s "Robots Remake the Workplace."

SRI International, a leader in robotics innovations for more than 50 years, will host the Xconomy Forum: The Future of Robotics in Silicon Valley and Beyond, on Thursday, May 3 from 1 to 5 p.m. at SRI's headquarters in Menlo Park, followed by a networking reception.

Topics: Robotics

SRI will demonstrate its Taurus robot, a high fidelity telemanipulation tool with a 3D HD display.

On Nov. 6 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., SRI will join other San Francisco Bay Area science organizations at Discovery Days at AT&T Park, a family-friendly celebration of science.

Topics: Robotics

SRI International will exhibit dexterous telerobotics and demonstrate its wall-climbing robot during a Robot Block Party event at Stanford University’s Volkswagen Automotive Innovation Lab (VAIL) on Thursday, April 14, from 1 to 7 p.m.

Topics: Robotics

SRI International, an independent nonprofit research and development institute, will demonstrate its M7 dexterous telesurgical robot at a Robot Block Party at Stanford University’s Paul Brest Hall from noon to 6 p.m. on Wednesday, April 14.

Topics: Robotics

SRI In the News

Next Big Thing: Drones Have Arrived, What's Next?

Rich Mahoney, director of SRI's Robotics Program and others sit down with Bloomberg's Cory Johnson to talk about the future of drones at the Bloomberg Next Big Thing Summit in Sausalito, California on June 9, 2014.

Rich Mahoney
SRI’s Mahoney Sees Robots Growing in Use, Acceptance (audio)

Rich Mahoney, director of SRI's Robotics Program, discusses the rapid development of robots for all kinds of uses, from help with household chores to dangerous search and rescue efforts.

Robots Step Up for Government Work

As robots have gotten more sophisticated and costs have dropped, they are taking on new roles in the civilian government workspace. Robot designers, including SRI's Rich Mahoney, underscore three key areas of development.

What It Will Look Like to Work in the Tiny Robot Factories of the Future

Thousands of tiny ant-like robots may soon be building life-sized products.

Researchers Invented Insect-Sized Robots That Can Swarm Together And Build Just About Anything

SRI has developed small robots steered by magnetic fields that can go nearly anywhere, and when they work together in large numbers, they can build all kinds of things.

Microrobots May Be Used for Future Manufacturing

SRI's tiny microrobots that work in groups like ants could lead to a new way to manufacture complex structures and electronics in the near future.

Micro Factory Employs Tiny Robots

SRI's micro-factory features tiny worker robots shimmying around a circuit board in a micro assembly plant.

Make Time for These Informative (and Cool) Videos

Future cool: SRI has released a video showing a swarm of ant-sized robots manufacturing an intricate glued carbon rod structure. Using magnetically actuated micro-robots, SRI foresees a near-term future in small components manufacturing.

Geek Video of the Week: Swarm of Insect-Inspired Microbots

This video shows magnetically activated microbots from SRI moving at speeds of up to 35cm per second.

SRI micro robot
This Swarm of Insect-Inspired Microbots Is Unsettlingly Clever

They're incredibly fast, can run directly up the wall, and coordinate easily among themselves. This swarm of insect-inspired microbots in action is both useful, and a little bit alarming.

Publications

In this paper, published in the 2013 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), we demonstrate our approach provides highly-accurate solutions on large-scale real data sets using multiple sensors in GPS-denied settings.

Autonomous robotic “fetch” operation, where a robot is shown a novel object and then asked to locate it in the field, re- trieve it and bring it back to the human operator, is a challenging problem that is of interest to the military.

In this paper, published in Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS), 2012. We present a system for detecting pedestrians at long ranges using a combination of stereo-based detection, classification using deep learning, and a cascade of specialized classifiers.

High-performance dense stereo is a critical component of computer vision applications like 3D reconstruction, robot navigation, and augmented reality. In this paper, we present a low-power, high performance FPGA implementation of a stereo algorithm suitable for embedded real-time platforms.

In this paper, published in IEEE International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems. We present a novel computationally efficient approach to obstacle detection that is applicable to both structured (e.g. indoor, road) and unstructured (e.g. off-road, grassy terrain) environments.

In this paper, published in IEEE. International Conference on Robotics and Automation. We present a novel LIDAR streaming architecture for real-time, on-board processing using unmanned robots.

In this paper, published in IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA). We present an innovative path following system based upon multi-camera visual odometry and visual landmark matching.

In this paper, published in SPIE, Unmanned Systems Technology XII. We present an on-the-move LIDAR-based object detection system for autonomous and semi-autonomous unmanned vehicle systems.

In this paper, published in IEEE Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition, CVPR 2009, we present a system that combines multiple visual navigation techniques to achieve GPS-denied, non-line-of-sight SLAM capability for heterogeneous platforms.