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Manipulation

The Allen Institute for AI (AI2) announced the 3.0 release of its embodied artificial intelligence framework AI2-THOR, which adds active object manipulation to its testing framework. ManipulaTHOR is a first of its kind virtual agent with a highly articulated robot arm equipped with three joints of equal limb length and composed entirely of swivel joints to bring a more human-like approach to object manipulation.

In recent years, robots have gained artificial vision, touch, and even smell. “Researchers have been giving robots human-like perception,” says MIT Associate Professor Fadel Adib. In a new paper, Adib’s team is pushing the technology a step further. “We’re trying to give robots superhuman perception,” he says.

Nearly all real-world applications of reinforcement learning involve some degree of shift between the training environment and the testing environment. However, prior work has observed that even small shifts in the environment cause most RL algorithms to perform markedly worse. As we aim to scale reinforcement learning algorithms and apply them in the real world, it is increasingly important to learn policies that are robust to changes in the environment.

Humanoid robot hand. Futuristic cyborg concept.

While modern cameras provide machines with a very well-developed sense of vision, robots still lack such a comprehensive solution for their sense of touch. At ETH Zurich, in the group led by Prof. Raffaello D’Andrea at the Institute for Dynamic Systems and Control, we have developed a tactile sensing principle that allows robots to retrieve rich contact feedback from their interactions with the environment. I recently described our approach in a TEDx talk at the last TEDxZurich. The talk features a tech demo that introduces the novel tactile sensing technology targeting the next generation of soft robotic skins.

Dutch brewing company Heineken is one of the largest beer producers in the world with more than 70 production facilities globally. From small breweries to mega-plants, its logistics and production processes are increasingly complex and its machinery ever more advanced. The global beer giant therefore began looking for robotics solutions to make its breweries safer and more attractive for employees while enabling a more flexible organisation.

by   -   February 26, 2021

The ability for humans to generalize their knowledge and experiences to new situations is remarkable, yet poorly understood. For example, imagine a human driver that has only ever driven around their city in clear weather. Even though they never encountered true diversity in driving conditions, they have acquired the fundamental skill of driving, and can adapt reasonably fast to driving in neighboring cities, in rainy or windy weather, or even driving a different car, without much practice nor additional driver’s lessons. While humans excel at adaptation, building intelligent systems with common-sense knowledge and the ability to quickly adapt to new situations is a long-standing problem in artificial intelligence.

by   -   February 9, 2021

CSAIL’s “LaserFactory” system automates the full process for making functional devices in one system. From Star Trek’s replicators to Richie Rich’s wishing machine, popular culture has a long history of parading flashy machines that can instantly output any item to a user’s delight.

interview by   -   December 2, 2020

In this episode, our interviewer Lauren Klein speaks with Kim Baraka about his PhD research to enable robots to engage in social interactions, including interactions with children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Baraka discusses how robots can plan their actions across multiple modalities when interacting with humans, and how models from psychology can inform this process. He also tells us about his passion for dance, and how dance may serve as a testbed for embodied intelligence within Human-Robot Interaction.

interview by   -   October 19, 2020

In this episode, Abate interviews Josh Lessing, co-founder and CEO of Root AI. At Root AI they are developing a system that tracks data on the farm and autonomously harvests crops using delicate grippers and computer vision. Lessing talks about the path they took to build a product with good market fit and how they brought a venture capital backed startup to market.

interview by   -   May 11, 2020

In this episode, Lilly Clark interviews Jeannette Bohg, Assistant Professor at Stanford, about her work in interactive perception and robot learning for grasping and manipulation tasks. Bohg discusses how robots and humans are different, the challenge of high dimensional data, and unsolved problems including continuous learning and decentralized manipulation.

interview by   -   February 17, 2020

In this episode, Shihan Lu interviews Dr. Heather Culbertson, Assistant Professor in the Computer Science Department at the University of Southern California, about her work in haptics. Dr. Culbertson discusses the data-driven realistic texture modeling and rendering, haptic technologies in the social touch, the combination of haptics and robots, expectations and obstacles of haptics in the next 5 years.

interview by   -   January 29, 2020


In this episode, Lilly interviews Juxi Leitner, a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Queensland University of Technology and Co-Founder/CEO of LYRO Robotics. LYRO spun out of the 2017 win of the Amazon Robotics Challenge by Team ACRV. Here Juxi discusses deep learning, computer vision, intent in grasping and manipulation, and bridging the gap between abstract and low-level understandings of the world. He also discusses why robotics is really an integration field, the Amazon and other robotics challenges, and what’s important to consider when spinning an idea into a company.

At Danfoss in Gråsten, the Danish Technological Institute (DTI) is testing, as part of a pilot project in the European robot network ROBOTT-NET, several robot technologies: Manipulation using force sensors, simpler separation of items and a 3D-printed three-in-one gripper for handling capacitors, nuts and a socket handle.


“Within the framework of the European project ROBOTT-NET we are developing software and robotic solutions for the prevention and control of rodents in enclosed spaces”, says Marco Lorenzo, Service Supervisor at Irabia Control De Plagas.

interview by   -   September 18, 2019



In this episode, Ron Vanderkley interviews Mark Pivac, Chief Technical Officer and co-founder of FBR (formerly Fastbrick Robotics) about the world’s first end-to-end autonomous bricklaying robot, ‘Hadrian X’. Three years after his first interview, we catch up with Pivac to see how FBR has expanded its operation and chat about their latest commercial prototype, ‘Hadrian X’, as well as the future of the robotic construction industry.



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