Twenty-first International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence (IJCAI-09)

The Interdisciplinary Reach of Artificial Intelligence

Pasadena Conference Center

Sponsored by The International Joint Conferences on Artificial Intelligence (IJCAI) and The Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI)

IJCAI-09 Tutorial Program and Schedule - SA2
Monday, July 12, 8:30 am - 12:30 pm


High-Level Robot Programming with Tekkotsu
David S. Touretzky and Ethan J. Tira-Thompson

Tekkotsu is an open-source framework for intelligent robot programming that provides high level primitives for vision, navigation, manipulation, and control. The framework is primarily intended for teaching undergraduates the computer science side of robotics, but it is also used for graduate-level research. Tekkotsu is implemented in C++, with teleoperation and remote monitoring tools written in Java for portability. It supports a variety of platforms ranging in price from $50 to several thousand dollars. The source code and documentation may be downloaded from

This tutorial provides an overview of the Tekkotsu framework and its use in AI education, an in-depth look at its "dual coding" vision system, and some hands-on time with two new robotic platforms intended for educational use. One is an inexpensive hand-eye system that can be controlled by any PC with a USB port. The other is a novel hexapod robot, the Chiara that also includes an arm, and runs Tekkotsu on-board; see for details. The tutorial is appropriate for any computer scientist interested in robotics education or research. No prior robotics experience is required.

David S. Touretzky is a Research Professor in the Computer Science Department and the Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition at Carnegie Mellon University, and head of the Tekkotsu project. With Ethan Tira-Thompson, he created CMU's undergraduate Cognitive Robotics course, which now uses the Chiara.

Ethan J. Tira-Thompson is a doctoral student in the Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University, and the principal architect of the Tekkotsu framework. His current research focus is manipulation by legged robots.


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