Ever wished for a robot to do your chores? OpenAI, the open-source research organization sponsored by Elon Musk, is working on software that would allow robots to teach themselves the best way to accomplish chores. OpenAI is using robots developed by Fetch Robotics that, through a process of trial and error, could soon learn the best way to fold laundry or wash dishes.
Fetch Robotics mainly makes robots that can help out in a warehouse, following workers around and collecting items to help save time. They also design their robots to work as a “platform for research and development.” When stretched out, their Fetch robot is 58.75 inches – that’s close to five feet tall. Equipped with a robotic arm with “seven degrees of freedom,” 3-D depth sensors, and a 2-D laser scanner, the robot could open up vast new possibilities for anyone who’s trying to save time.
OpenAI is finding that rather than programming a robot to clean the house, it is better to let robots learn how to do a chore. OpenAI’s software is designed to allow robots to develop a “neural network” as they learn the best way to accomplish a task, sometimes over thousands of attempts. According to MIT Technology Review, the focus on software rather than hardware indicates OpenAI may think software innovations will be the way to advance robotics, more than creating a shiny new robot.
Imperial College London statistical machine learning lecturer Marc Deisenroth told MIT Technology Review, “If this goal can be achieved, then there will be economic and industrial benefits. Imagine a Roomba not only cleaning your floor but also doing the dishes, ironing the shirts, cleaning the windows, preparing breakfast.”
Images via Fetch Robotics