Friday, August 5, 2011

Researchers Give Robot Ability to Learn

PhysOrg.com (08/02/11) Bob Yirka 

A type of self-replicating neural technology developed by researchers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology can give robots the ability to learn and perform new tasks. The neural technology, called the Self-Organizing Incremental Neural Network, determines what to do next in a given situation by storing information in a network that is designed to mimic the human brain. In a demonstration, the researchers asked a robot to fill a cup with water from a bottle, which it performed using predefined instructions. The researchers then asked the robot to cool the beverage while in the middle of carrying out the same instructions as before. The robot, which is holding the cup in one hand and the bottle in the other, paused to consider what it must do to carry out the request. It set the bottle down, reached over to retrieve an ice cube, and placed it in the cup. The researchers say the technology enables a robot to learn from its experiences, use the Internet to research how to do things, and potentially learn from similar robots that have already performed the tasks it wants to do.