How Robots Can Quickly Teach Each Other to Grasp New Objects

The Baxter in Stefanie Tellex’s lab tries to grasp two objects at once. Grabbing a pen or pair of sunglasses might be effortless for you or me, but it’s fiendishly difficult for a robot, especially if the object in question is unfamiliar or positioned awkwardly.Practice makes perfect, though, as one robot is proving. It is teaching itself to grasp all sorts of objects through hours of repetition. The robot uses different cameras and infrared sensors to look at an unfamiliar object from various angles before attempting to pick it up. Then it does so using several different grasps, shaking the object to make sure it is held securely. It may take dozens of tries for the robot to find the right grasp, and dozens more for it to make sure…


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