Robot news #1 – Octopus-Inspired, SCHAFT and Google Robots Learn

I came across several articles in the past few weeks I thought told interesting robot related stories.

Octopus-Inspired Robots

While this article  addresses a relatively specialize robot targeted at aquatic environments, it offers some unique characteristics (“MultimediaVideoRobot Sensors & Actuators
Octopus-Inspired Robots Can Grasp, Crawl, and Swim“). As the title suggests, these robots  employ tentacle like appendages to swim and grasp. Article contains a short but interesting video.

SCHAFT Bipedal Robot Revealed

The SCHAFT robot was unveiled at the New Economic Summit (NEST) 2016 held in Tokyo, Japan earlier this month. SCHAFT begun at the JSK Robotics Laboratory a the University of Tokyo, but was acquired by Google (Alphabet). It was their robot that won the DARPA Robotics Challenge Trials.

This prototype robot looks a little odd, but provides a low center of gravity. The demo video shows that the robot can traverse varied terrain and conditions. The concepts introduced here may find their way into production robots of the future.


Google Robots Learn

Programming robots to perform tasks is not easy. Increasingly, robots are being programmed to learn on their own. This is the case for robots being “taught” to identifying objects, then picking them up. In this case, the robots picked up objects over 800,000 times over the two month experiment. These robots used a neural network to learn how to pick up a variety of objects during the study.

Letting robots learn from mistakes and improve their skill level will be far more practical in the long run that trying to program how to do something. Once a robot has learned a skill, that knowledge can be migrated to other robots.

For more information read the article “GOOGLE’S ROBOTS ARE LEARNING HOW TO PICK THINGS UP“.

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