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What’s cooking inside Nvidia’s robotics research lab

Nvidia robot open house
Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang and Susan Gaither tickle a robotic hand at Nvidia’s robotics research lab in Seattle. (Nvidia Photo)

When Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang interacted with a sensitive robotic hand at today’s open house for his company’s robotics research lab in Seattle, it was love at first touch.

“It almost feels like a pet!” Huang said as he tickled the hand’s fingers, causing them to retreat gently.

“It’s surprisingly therapeutic,” he told the crowd around him. “Can I have one?”

The robotic hand, which is programmed to avoid poking humans when they come too close, was just one of the machines on display at the 13,000-square-foot lab in Seattle’s University District.

Nvidia is based in California’s Silicon Valley and has nearly 200 employees working at an engineering center in Redmond, Wash.

But when the chipmaker laid plans to open a lab focusing on research in robotics and artificial intelligence, it set up shop in the same building that houses the University of Washington’s CoMotion Lab. It also put Dieter Fox, a longtime computer science professor at UW, in charge of the operation as senior director of robotics research.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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