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This Robot Could Clean Up Your Mess


The following is an excerpt from Heather Kelly | September 10, 2018 | CNN.com |

Robots may have a future in household tasks. A new wave of machines could excel at picking up your shoes, matching them in pairs and putting them away -- all while you nap.

Researchers at MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory developed a system to give robots a greater understanding of the random objects that fill our world and sometimes our closets. Similar technology could eventually help automate work in warehouses packing Amazon boxes, or assisting with cleaning in private homes, working quietly alongside Roombas.

"We want robots to learn by themselves how to very richly and visually understand lots of objects that are useful for lots of tasks," said Pete Florence, the co-lead author of the paper.

Robots already have a huge presence in warehouses and on assembly lines, but they usually can't learn and improvise. They can pick up and move objects, but they have to be in set positions and locations.
General assembly, such as packing random do-dads into boxes at e-commerce warehouses, is the type of work humans do well. But with MIT's technology, a robotic arm could assist: it'll know how to grab a mug by the handle or a shoe by its tongue. The system learns more about the objects over time and eventually put items inside a box in a specific way.

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