Researchers at the University of Birmingham in the U.K. have taught robots to pick up unfamiliar objects without dropping or breaking them. The research paves the way for robots to be used in more flexible ways and in more complex environments, especially where humans and robots need to work together.
In the university's School of Computer Science, researchers designed a way to program a robotic hand to pick up an object, and then use information learned in that first grip to grasp and move a whole range of similar objects. The robot was then able to generalize the grip and adapt it to other objects.
"The programming we developed allows the robot to assess the object and generate around 1, 000 different grasp options in about five seconds," explains Jeremy Wyatt, professor of robotics and artificial intelligence at the University of Birmingham.
A video illustrating this technology can be seen here.