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Mabel: She Went, She Spoke, She Won

"Mabel the Mobile Table," a 21st-century robotic server designed by a team of Rochester undergraduates took top honors in her category at a national conference on artificial intelligence last summer.

Designed to recognize names and faces as well as to navigate crowded rooms and offer hors d’oeuvres to guests, the robot is the brainchild of students Ben Atwood ’03, David Feil-Seifer ’03, Mike Isman ’04, Tom Kollar ’04, Eric Meisner ’03, Jon Schmid ’03, Jenine Turner ’03, and Tori Sweetser ’03. They, along with Diana Calarese ’03, Ross Camara ’03, Habib Chaudhury ’03, Scott Cragg ’04, and Aaron Zschau ’02, worked on the robot for more than a year before competing at the American Association of Artificial Intelligence’s national conference in Edmonton, Canada.

Chris Brown, professor of computer science, was the team’s faculty advisor.

Feil-Seifer says the students worked on Mabel up to the last minute, making sure the robot was ready.

"We were just happy to have it there and see it work in front of people," he says.

Turner says the students learned a lot about computer programming as well as a lot about teamwork. "We learned how much can be accomplished by a bunch of kids working together," she says.

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