RoDyMan: the “pizza-making” robot
The first prototype of a robot with enhanced manipulatory skills, which is able to perform all the stages needed to make a pizza, from dough kneading to brick-oven cooking, was presented by professor Bruno Siciliano, ordinary professor of Automatic Control at the Department of Electrical Engineering and Information Technology of the University of Naples Federico II, during the info day “The future of excellence in research”, organized in Naples by the European Research Council (ERC).
RoDyMan (acronym for Robotic Dynamic Manipulation) is the name of the robot and also of the 5-year research project which received a 2.5 million euro grant by ERC.
"With two agile arms and multi-finger hands – explained Siciliano - RoDyMan will be able to manipulate flexible and deformable objects, like the food we eat, the clothes we wear and it can be used in the medical field for operating on soft tissues, including muscles and skin". The objective is to show that a robot can reach a dexterity levels comparable to human ones.
The heart of the project is RoDyMan’s ability to enter relationships with human beings. To this purpose, skills in the field of engineering as well as cognitive science and artificial intelligence are necessary. RoDyMan will not have legs, but it will be mounted on a wheeled mobile platform. The head is equipped with a stereo camera system, proximity and tactile sensors. Its mechanical hands, equipped with nine engines and made of aluminum and plastic materials, will be similar to human hands.