Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Robot Learns to Pour Beer by Predicting Your Future

Have you ever dreamed of owning a personal robot servant to pour your beers for you? The idea is now one step closer to reality.

Researchers at Cornell University have programmed a robot that can predict what you’re about to do and offer up a helping hand. Using a Microsoft Kinect sensor, the robot watches your body movements. Then, it accesses a video database of about 120 household activities — ranging from putting food in the microwave, eating, brushing teeth, making cereal, and yes, pouring booze — to predict what your actions will be a few seconds into the future. The robot can then make a decision about what you’re likely to do next, and what it can do to assist you in that task.

This robot is an improvement over previous technologies, says Ashutosh Saxena, one of the computer scientists at Cornell who programmed the robot, because previous models were looking at what people were doing in the past.

“Looking a little bit into the future helps a lot,” he says. While you can’t order this robot from Amazon yet, the code underlying the ‘bot’s predictive powers is available under an open source license. Some developers have already downloaded the code and asked how they could take it further, Saxena says. “The code is ready to go,” he says. Read more >>

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