Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Robots can recover from damage in minutes

Robots can recover from damage in minutes: Robots will one day provide tremendous benefits to society, such as in search and rescue missions and putting out forest fires - but not until they can learn to keep working if they become damaged. A new paper in the journal Nature, called "Robots That Can Adapt Like Animals," shows how to make robots automatically recover from injury in less than two minutes.

A video of the work shows a six-legged robot that adapts to keep walking even if two of its legs are broken. It also shows a robotic arm that learned how to correctly place an object even with several broken motors.

Antoine Cully and Jean-Baptiste Mouret, from the Pierre and Marie Curie University in France, led the work in collaboration with Jeff Clune (University of Wyoming) and Danesh Tarapore (Pierre and Marie Curie University).

In contrast to today's robots, animals exhibit an amazing ability to adapt to injury. There are many three-legged dogs that can catch Frisbees, for example, and if your ankle is sprained, you quickly figure out a way to walk despite the injury. The scientists took inspiration from these biological strategies.