• Operating a Microwave Oven after Reading the Manual(Short version, CCTV report, Nov. 19, 2010)
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  •     This demo was repeated dozens of times to the public in the 12th China Hi-Tech Fair (Shenzhen, Nov. 16-21, 2010). During the demonstration, the user sent oral commands in Chinese to robot KeJia, requesting her prepare breakfast, in particular, to heat milk and/or bread. In the beginning, KeJia had no complete knowledge about the microwave oven; for instance, she did not know the functions of the buttons on the control panel. While the user suggested her "reading the manual", KeJia immediately browsed and downloaded the manual from the internet, read the manual in Chinese and learnt the relevant knowledge in it. With the acquired knowledge, KeJia managed to plan a course of actions and achieve the entire task by using the microwave oven to heat food. The actions she executed included opening the microwave oven door, putting the food into the microwave oven, closing the door, pushing button "Start/Re-heat" to start heating, pushing button "Pause/Cancel" to stop heating, opening the oven and finally bringing the heated food to the user. In this process, KeJia checked her actions of pushing buttons by monitoring the readings on the digital screen, and took remedial actions when necessary.

        The demo reflects a novel and more challenging test on the architecture and core technology of KeJia [Chen et al, 2010 ; Chen et al, 2009]In this effort, we slightly extended the robot's knowledge base of languages, while substantially augmented its manipulation abilities (i.e., opening and closing the door of microwave ovens, pushing buttons) and perceptual abilities (i.e., detecting a microwave oven and recognizing the readings on digital screen). The results indicate that based on the architecture and technology, hopefully in the future, intelligent robots would be enabled to autonomously acquire knowledge expressed in natural languages and thereby incrementally improve their performance on general-purpose services.

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