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April 1, 2014
GrannyBot: GT Computing Students Create Pocket-Sized Humanoid Robot Grandma
Dorm food got you down? Forget your jacket this morning, even though there’s a high chance of snowpocalypse? Just need a hug?
In anticipation of National Robotics Week, students at the Georgia Tech College of Computing have announced a new humanoid robot, GrannyBot. Though she may take fifteen minutes to walk across the street, she'll bake her way into your heart. GrannyBot is the humanoid robot grandma you never knew you needed.
What’s the worst thing about being away from home? Not having grandma to knit you stylish beanies and cozy quilts.
“When I left for school, I realized that I’d also left part of my heart at home…with Gram Gram,” explains GT Computing undergrad and GrannyBot’s developer, Brit Priolo. “Being a part of one of the top computer science programs in the nation, surrounded by students building humanoid robots in their dorm rooms, the solution was clear – I would create my own, pocket-sized, robotic Gram Gram.”
In three days, using only an old soda can, plastic googly-eyes, some twine and a highly sophisticated computer program loosely based on Super Smash Bros., GrannyBot was born.
“When I first met GrannyBot, she handed me a cookie and told me that I was her favorite granddaughter. Even though I suspect she says that to everyone, I still think she’s the best thing that ever happened to me,” shares GrannyBot Marketing Manager, GT student Mikaela Dyershikov.
Priolo and Dyershikov, along with a handful of students from the Georgia Tech Institute for Robotics and Intelligent Machines (IRIM), developed GrannyBot with the intention of selling the prototype to a large-scale manufacturer. Priolo laments, “I can’t give her up just yet. She packs my lunch for class every day – ham and cheese with the crust cut off. And she’s teaching Mikaela how to crochet. You can’t just sell your grandma like that.”
GrannyBot is set to go into mass production later this year. Priolo and fellow developers are working out a few final kinks – though GrannyBot claims that she still looks and feels twenty-eight.