Researchers Introduce a New Training Approach for Robots

By CIOReview | Thursday, October 8, 2015

FREMONT, CA: Researchers at the Autonomy, Robotics, and Cognition Lab (ARC Lab) of University of Maryland bring forth a new project under which they ‘train’ robots to learn how to perform a task by watching a person do it, reports Will Knight for MIT Technology Review.

This approach of teaching Robots to be attentive students is named as Robot Training Academy. By showing videos of how people perform tasks, researchers train a computer system to synchronize the actions of the robot with the footage. Robots can be trained by making them watch a number of instructional YouTube videos, making it more efficient than programming a robot.

Researchers have presented a proof in a conference held in St Louis on the approach they are working on, by exhibiting a robot that makes a cocktail after watching a person perform the task of mixing various drinks. Through this project, researchers throw light on two aspects of robotics: new approaches of learning and robots closely working with humans. Researchers are approaching many manufacturing companies to adapt this technology in their factories in order to speed up the process of reprogramming their machines.

“At many companies it normally takes a month and a half or more to reprogram a robot. So what are the current AI capabilities we can use to shorten this span, maybe even in half?” says Yezhou Yang, Graduate, ARC Lab.