MIT Researchers Teach Robots to Work with People

Last week we linked to an article about the evolving role of robotics in automation from a tool we used to a tool we work with. One of the biggest hurdles in pushing forward is a robot’s limitation of adaptability. A robot would require extensive programming before being able to work alongside a human — and that’s just what the researchers at MIT are working on.

MIT enables robot, human collaboration in manufacturing

by Sharon Gaudin

Researchers are using the algorithm to train robots to work with humans, according to MIT. Shaw and her team are scheduled to present their findings at the Robotics: Science and Systems Conference in Sydney in July.

“It’s an interesting machine-learning human-factors problem,” Shah said. “Using this algorithm, we can significantly improve the robot’s understanding of what the person’s next likely actions are.”

Researchers used a computational model in the form of a decision tree. Each branch of the tree represents a choice that a mechanic might make. For instance, does the mechanic want to put one bolt in place and hammer it in, or does the worker want to put a row of bolts in place first and then hammer them in.

The robot is designed to learn as it works, picking up on the mechanic’s personal preferences.

Read the full article at Computer World. How would a learning, adaptable robot help you in your automated system?


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