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John Leonard

Professor John Leonard and his colleagues at the National University of Ireland (NUI) at Maynooth have developed a new mapping algorithm that creates highly-detailed 3-D maps.
“The technique solves a major problem in the robotic mapping community that’s known as either “loop closure” or “drift”: As a camera pans across a room or travels down a corridor, it invariably introduces slight errors in the estimated path taken. A doorway may shift a bit to the right, or a wall may appear slightly taller than it is. Over relatively long distances, these errors can compound, resulting in a disjointed map, with walls and stairways that don’t exactly line up,” wrote Jennifer Chu in an article in MIT News.

In the June 10 episode of Bloomberg’s Brink TV show, Bloomberg takes a look at the future of robotics, in particular Baxter, the new manufacturing robot from Professor Rodney Brooks’ Rethink Robotics. Professor John Leonard, a principal investigator at CSAIL, is interviewed during the program, on his use of Baxter in a research setting. Baxter, “lets us think of new possibilities and new ways to use them (robots) in ways that might not have seemed feasible before,” said Leonard of his group’s work with Baxter.

Check out the full segment below.

Bloomberg TV featured the work of John Leonard, a professor of Mechanical and Ocean Engineering in the MIT Department of Mechanical Engineering and a principal investigator at CSAIL, in a new piece focused on the future of robotics. During a visit to CSAIL, Bloomberg’s Matt Miller spoke with Leonard about his work with robotic mapping and navigation, in particular his research focused on enabling the PR2 to navigate the Stata Center.
The piece focused on how robots are becoming more and more useful for humans everyday life. “I certainly believe that robots can make the world a better place,” said Leonard.
Check out the full video below.