Teaching Robots By Demonstration Will Make Household Helpers (+VIDEO)
Robots are not so very intelligent, as they are often considered: robots only do what we program them to do like computers, thus it may prove problematic to develop a practical robot helper. Maya Cakmak, a researcher from Georgia Tech, has developed a user-friendly system that teaches the PR2 robot simple tasks like, how to retrieve medicine from a cabinet and fold a t-shirt. It’ advantage is that doesn’t require any traditional programming skills, it works by physically guiding the robot’s arms while giving it verbal commands. Traditional programming is also neccessary, because robots will still need some degree of common sense to function properly, hence it won’t be replaced with teaching by demonstration. Baxter, a new industrial robot from Rethink Robotics uses both systems in oder to enable anyone to quickly and easily program the robot to perform manipulation tasks on a production line, like picking up an object over here and moving it over there. Cakmak’s approach could help robots become real household helpers and at the end of the day you could have software routines capable of folding any type of clothing, or loading any type of cookware into a dishwasher; still some local instruction would still be required as each household is unique.