Robots meet Evolution – and RoboSAM

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  • 6 years ago
  • Posted: September 18, 2015 at 2:08 am

Self evolving artificial artifacts ought to be stories you find in science fiction novels or movies, but no, it is the kind of stuff that is already happening in the real world with real physically tangible robots. The Cambridge University created a robot, let’s call her Mother robot, with the ability to give birth. Not the normal birth where a man and a woman engage in sex, the woman gets pregnant, then nine months later a new baby is brought forth, but in a robotic sense – at least for now.

The robotic sense of giving birth was enabled by the Cambridge Engineers by programming the robot in question to be able to manufacture copies of herself – let’s call them her offspring. The offspring are not just given birth to but also “taught”, tested, and improved upon. Depending on how the offspring performs, the mother robot decides whether the traits of the child are suitable to be passed on to the next generation – and the preliminary results are out.

According to an article published by Science Vibe, “After a few generations, the children were running twice as fast as the first batch.” And there is a video to show for that.

Elsewhere, Researchers from the University of Maryland have developed RoboSAM (ROBOtic Smart Assistant for Manufacturing), an industrial robot smart enough to know when something is wrong. RoboSAM will then pause and call a human to lend a helping hand.

To determine whether he needs help, RoboSAM will run probability algorithm to determine how likely he is able to complete a task on its own, and when the probability falls below a certain critical value, he will ask a human being to help. It doesn’t end there, whenever RoboSAM receives help, he uses the help time to learn how to do the task better next time.

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Satyandra Gupta who led the research believes that this work is the beginning of providing a better economic model for deploying robots, especially for small- and medium-sized manufacturing companies. “In most situations, providing task assistance help to robots is much more cost-effective than recovering from a system shutdown, and it enables humans to move from doing dull tasks like monitoring and clean up to more challenging work like helping robots with the tasks with which they struggle.”

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