Robots Learning Muscle Memory the Way We Do

Robot Trunk

I am training a bionic elephant’s trunk to do real-world jobs like picking apples or replacing light bulbs – something non-experts haven’t been able to do until now.

Designed to bring the dexterity of an elephant’s trunk to industrial robots, the appendage I am wrestling was launched by German engineering firm Festo.

[T]he machine wasn’t built with its own precision control software. Steil and his colleague Matthias Rolf used a process called “goal babbling” to mimic the way a baby learns to grab things by continually reaching – a process of trial and error that lets them work out which muscles they need to move.

Similarly, the robot remembers what happens to the trunk’s position when tiny changes are made to the pressure in the thin pneumatic tubes feeding the artificial muscles. This creates a map that relates the trunk’s precise position to the pressures in each tube.

In other words, you manually guide the robot-trunk to do what you want it to do, and it eventually learns how to call up that blueprint of muscle firings – essentially, exactly what a human child does.

Via New Scientist.

This entry was posted in Gadgets, Videos by Heretic. Bookmark the permalink.

About Heretic

I design video games for a living, write fiction, political theory and poetry for personal amusement, and train regularly in Western European 16th century swordwork. On frequent occasion I have been known to hunt for and explore abandoned graveyards, train tunnels and other interesting places wherever I may find them, but there is absolutely no truth to the rumor that I am preparing to set off a zombie apocalypse. Nothing that will stand up in court, at least. I use paranthesis with distressing frequency, have a deep passion for history, anthropology and sociological theory, and really, really, really hate mayonnaise. But I wash my hands after the writing. Promise.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s