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Robots with muscle memory can learn the same way toddlers do

Posted in Hardware on 13th Mar, 2014 11:49 PM by AlexMuller

Back in 2010, German roboticists working at a firm called Festo put together a robot arm not modeled after our own, but after an elephant's trunk. With a trio of soft, rubber pincers at its end, the bionic trunk could perform simple tasks like plucking produce off the vine and opening doors. Or at least that was the idea.


When it was designed, the trunk wasn't very precise, missing its targets by a wide enough margin to leave the robot and the fruit it was meant to pluck to wither on the vine.

With an advanced degree in robotics, you could probably correct the error of the robot trunk's ways, but the average user wasn't so lucky. Researchers at Germany's Bielefeld Univesity have recently come up with a novel solution to the problem which could spur a revolution in how robots learn.
The process is called "goal babbling" and its roughly the same way human children learn to use their limbs.
Since the robot trunk is powered my a series of pneumatic tubes, the researchers needed only to teach the robot how to remember how much pressure was needed in each tube to create a certain gesture.
Once the gesture is learned, the robot can rapidly recreate it from muscle memory. And since the arm is prehensile, the robot can basically learn any number of shapes, each of which could be vital for a different task. Switching a light bulb could require different pressures and angles of motion than, say, plucking grapes.

Tags: robotmusclehardwarememoryrobotics

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Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-03-14
This " goal babbling" is impressive! I believe this could be applied to other devices that can be "trained" for many useful tasks in this way. Very encouraging and promising Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-03-14
It is quite interesting that they say that "The same sort of learning can, in theory, be translated to robot maids and butlers. Simply show your robo-servant how you like your table set by moving its arms and legs through the task and it will remember how to do it tomorrow" - This would be great!
2 Replies
Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-03-14
Yes, Saxena humanoid robot could do such jobs and also learn! They have camera and a library of 3D videos that exemplify common human habits for them to study and learn Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-03-14
A great deal is happening in robotics. Recently, world's strongest robot muscles made from everyday fishing line! This fishing line muscle is capable of lifting objects 100 times heavier than natural muscle of the same size Reply


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