Researchers at the University of Oklahoma have built a Mac mini-powered robot, which uses iSight as its eyes.
The project aimed to: "see what it is like to control a robot using the built-in visual and aural sensors before designing an agent to do the same task". The researchers eventually hope to create an autonomous robot.
The researchers are part of the Artificial Intelligence Research laboratory in Computer Science. They were interested in evaluating the Mac mini because of its small size, and "built-in wireless and Firewire capabilities".
The robot is controlled using the Mac mini's wireless connections. The robot's brain (Aria demo software running on the Mac) controls the Pioneer 3-AT mechanism.
iChat transmits the audio/video data from the iSight camera back to the control computer.
The team testing the robot admits to some "jerkiness" when turning the Mac creature (but blame it on the wireless interface, not the Mac). Otherwise the Mac mini robot has been a successful test.