Carnegie Mellon University

Nov. 2 - Robots on GMA

Contact:   Byron Spice                         
412-268-9068
bspice@cs.cmu.edu

Anne Watzman
412-268-3830
aw16@andrew.cmu.edu

Carnegie Mellon Robots Grace and Quasi
Will Appear on Good Morning America Saturday

PITTSBURGH—Carnegie Mellon University robots Grace and Quasi are slated to appear on ABC-TV's "Good Morning America" (GMA) beginning at 7 a.m., Saturday, Nov. 4. A key part of the program will be about how robots are changing our lives and how their impact will continue to grow in the future.    

Grace is a talking social robot that resides in the university's Robotics Institute (www.ri.cmu.edu). In 2002, she successfully completed the American Association for Artificial Intelligence's (AAAI) annual Robot Challenge. On her own, she entered the Shaw Convention Center in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, where the AAAI conference was held, found the registration booth, registered for the conference, proceeded to an elevator, took it to the third floor and found a room where she delivered a PowerPoint presentation about herself.    

Grace and Quasi Quasi is a cartoonish, interactive humanoid robot created in the university's Entertainment Technology Center (ETC) in early 2005 by an interdisciplinary student-led project group called "Interbots." The 10-person team - consisting of members with backgrounds in computer science, industrial design, special effects, digital media, theater and psychology - created the robot in just 10 weeks. Interbots  (http://interbots.com/news/?page_id=2) spun out of the university as a small startup company in May 2005.    

Both robots are no strangers to the bright lights of television. This is Grace's second appearance on "Good Morning America." In December 2004, she helped GMA's Tony Perkins forecast the weather from Pittsburgh's Carnegie Science Center. Quasi has also had many engagements, including an appearance on the "CBS Evening News," the Discovery Channel and at Wired Magazine's NEXTfest in New York City.    

Grace will be accompanied by Marek Michalowski, a fourth-year Ph.D. student in the Robotics Institute; and Greg Armstrong, a senior research technician in the Computer Science Department who is well known as a robot maintainer. Michalowski, who is advised by School of Computer Science Researcher and Grace creator Reid Simmons, works on robots that can participate in rich, interactive relationships with people. For more on Grace, see www.palantir.swarthmore.edu/GRACE/.   

The Quasi team includes Seema Patel, CEO of Interbots; Sabrina Haskell, Interbots' lead software programmer; and Lenny Larsen, robot operator and second-year student in the Entertainment Technology Center. For more on Quasi, see http://interbots.com and www.interbotsinitiative.com/news/.