(ORDO NEWS) — For the first time, American engineers have created a robot that can independently study its body from scratch. Just like human newborns, who, as they grow older, become aware of themselves and their limbs.
This robot studies its body like a human baby
When a person is born, his brain does not immediately realize that the body and limbs belong to him – which is why newborns most often move their arms and legs randomly.
However, a few months after birth, the child learns to control his limbs and begins to identify his body with himself.
Researchers from Columbia University (USA) for the first time in the world have created a robot that, without human help, is able to study its body from scratch and, over time, even determine where the damage is.
How does a robot learn about itself?
In their new work, the engineers showed how their robot, more specifically, a robotic arm, created its own kinematic diagram (this is a diagram that shows how the moving parts of the robot react to the activation of the engine), and then used it to plan movement, achieve goals and bypass obstacles in different situations. He even automatically recognized and then repaired the damage done to his body.
To achieve these results, the researchers placed the robotic arm in a circle of five streaming video cameras. The robot could watch its movements through the cameras.
Like an infant examining itself for the first time in a hall of mirrors, the robot writhed and assumed various poses to understand exactly how its body moved in response to various motor commands.
After about three hours, the robot stopped. His internal neural network has finished learning how parts of him move under different conditions and when executing different commands.
Why is it needed
The researchers explain that the ability of robots to learn without the help of engineers is important for many reasons.
Firstly, this greatly reduces the time that specialists will spend on creating and maintaining the robot – at a minimum, such devices will be able to detect wear and damage themselves, as well as restore them.
Secondly, this ability of robots is very useful, since people need autonomous systems that can make simple decisions on their own.
For example, if such a robot works in a factory, then it can notice a failure in the production process and correct it.
In addition, engineers note that they are aware of the possible risks associated with the independence of robots.
However, according to them, the neural network used in this robotic arm is very simple, and it is still far from the level of human thinking.
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