Past Projects

The BodyTrack project develops open source self tracking tools to aggregate and visualize data from diverse sources such as wearable sensors, observations from mobile apps, photos, and environmental data. Our goal is to empower individuals to explore potential environment and health interactions (food sensitivities, asthma or migraine triggers, sleep problems, etc.) and better assess strategies they think might help.
Bow Leg Hopper
The Bow Leg Hopper is a single-leg, dynamically stabilized planar robot that efficiently traverses rugged terrains under computer control. It's highly resilient leg utilizes a novel locomotor design that resembles an archer's bow enabling hopping heights of 50 cm, high efficiency and low power requirements.
The BowGo is a new kind of pogo stick that bounces higher, farther and more efficiently than conventional devices. The BowGo is a scaled-up human-sized version of the Bow Leg, using the fiber-reinforced composite spring technology to store 2-5 times as much elastic energy as conventional steel coil springs, resulting in smooth, almost frictionless jumping heights of up to four feet.
A low cost, simple-to-use platform for constructing environmentally reactive communicative works of art and design. The Canary has been used to develop conversation around issues that affect the quality of life in a very local sense; monitoring and making kinetic sculptures to describe the feeling about issues such as air and noise pollution.
Utilizing a portable, personal version of the Hear Me tin can, CanPals sparked a conversation between kids from different schools, groups or organizations. Each student created his or her own can with an original audio story, and designed a label to wrap around the can. The students sent their stories via can to a partner group. The recipients sent back a response, and then created their own story can to send to the next group.
Inexpensive robots have been limited by their lack of ability to perceive the complexity of the world. The goal of CMUcam is to provide simple vision capabilities to small embedded systems in the form of a powerful, intelligent and inexpensive sensor to increase the potential of small, cheap mobile robots to do many different types of on-board, real-time vision processing tasks.
Energize Haiti
The mission of Energize Haiti was to empower the people of Haiti to effectively utilize energy with the aid of educational technologies that focus on sustainability, independence, and awareness. The project provided CAMEJO Hospital in Leogane with open-source energy monitoring hardware and software, in addition to energy-generating playground equipment. The ultimate goal of the project was to provide a model for infrastructure education and development in energy-scarce areas.
Gyrover is a single-wheel robot that is stabilized and steered by means of an internal, mechanical gyroscope. Gyrover can stand and turn in place, move deliberately at low speed, climb moderate grades, and move stably on rough terrain at high speeds, using its single track and narrow profile for obstacle avoidance.
Neighborhood Networks
The Neighborhood Networks project was a series of public participatory design workshops that provided opportunities for neighborhood residents to engage in the creative exploration and application of robotics and sensing technologies in the context of neighborhood activism. Our interest is how these neighborhood groups use or might use emerging technologies as a means to publicly address their concerns of the social, material, and political conditions of their neighborhoods.
Palm Pilot Robot Kit
The Palm Pilot Robot Kit is a design for an easy-to-build, fully autonomous robot controlled by a Palm handheld computer. Our robot empowers a Palm to move about and sense the nearby environment. The base uses three "omni-wheels" that allow driving in any direction with independent control of rotation and has three optical range sensors to "see" the nearby environment up to about a meter away.
The Personal Rover Project
The Personal Rover Project aimed to create robots that would inspire and excite children about science and technology. We believe robots can serve as a fun and rewarding vessel for education, and we are particularly interested in bringing rovers to the home, the school and the local science center. Personal rovers are also a compelling way for children and adults to learn about the technology needed for scientific exploration such as that done by NASA's Mars rovers.
Robot 250
As Pittsburgh prepared to observe its 250th Anniversary in 2008, the CREATE Lab joined in the celebrations by including our region's leading role in robotics education and research, which stretches back to the 1920s. But more than just looking back, Robot 250 highlighted the future of Pittsburgh, emphasizing educational and creative opportunities in robotics, and giving members of the public the opportunity to create and interact with robots first hand through workshops and exhibits all across the city.
The TeRK project aims to make educational robotics accessible to a large community of college and pre-college students as well as home and hobby robot enthusiasts. TeRK includes the development of affordable robot designs that can be built with hand tools and commercially available off-the-shelf parts, coupled with open-source software libraries and a web community where curriculum, software, and robot designs can be readily exchanged.
Toy Robots Initiative
The goal of the Toy Robots Initiative is to commercialize robotics technologies in the education, toy and art markets. In achieving this goal, we aim to excite and inspire public interest and learning in robotics. We look to discover elegant, non-traditional solutions to robotics problems by working within the cost constraints of the mass market, utilizing commercial sector high-volume manufacturing to mitigate the cost of robotics development.
The VEXPro robot controller is the successor to the Qwerk and was created through a partnership between Innovation First, Charmed Labs, and the CREATE Lab. Targeted at advanced users, it features a wide variety of inputs and outputs required for robotics. The CREATE Lab also helped create Terk IDE, the VEXPro's free development environment, which greatly simplifies and accelerates programming of the VEXPro.

The Robotics Institute | Carnegie Mellon University

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