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robots learning through observation

in robots in education by Jeff Green

What if programming a robot was as easy as allowing it to observe humans by watching videos on YouTube? Imagine how much time, not to mention money that would save.

At the University of Maryland’s Institute for Advanced Computer Studies, researchers are doing just that. The team’s work includes teaching their Baxter Research Robot how to pour liquid into a moving container, by demonstrating the task. Sounds like a messy proposition, but it’s not.

As UMIACS’s recently published abstract states, “Our ultimate goal is to build a self-learning robot that is able to enrich its knowledge about fine grained manipulation actions by ‘watching’ demo videos.”  And with that they’ve been successful.  The experiments conducted by the group have proven that a robot can learn how to accurately manipulate objects through observation.

For more on UMIACS’s research, download the abstract here.  And to see how other institutions are using their Baxter Research Robots, tour our Research & Education pages and visit our video gallery. Or better yet, connect with an expert at Rethink and talk robotics. We’re always game for that.

By the way, have you seen Baxter in action at a university or in a research lab? Tell us about it…we’d love to spotlight your story on our web site.

(3 comments)


About the Author

Jeff Green

I'm Jeff Green, senior content and social media strategist at Rethink Robotics. When I'm not socializing Sawyer and Baxter, our smart, collaborative robots, I'm usually caught up in the home tornado, also known as my three kids. Love them, my wife, old-school Chinese food, movies, and of course game-changing technology.


3 comments on this article

fred wehling July 14, 2015 at 10:06 pm

interested in exploring possible uses for simple robot for manual packaging applications

Jeff Green

Jeff Green July 15, 2015 at 2:51 pm

Hi Fred, thanks for your comment. A member of our team will be in touch shortly to discuss your interests in using a collaborative robot for those types of applications.

Android robo November 1, 2017 at 11:22 am

It is very useful and a robot can accurately monitor how to handle the objects.


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