(WKRG/ CBS NEWS) — Most robots are programmed to carry out a specific function, but researchers in Arizona are now developing a new generation of machines that can learn new skills.
Assistant robotics professor Heni Ben Amor leads a team of researchers at Arizona State University where the machines are being developed. Instead of being programmed to carry out a task, the robots use ‘machine learning’, a combination of algorithms and sensors that make them teachable.
“Ideally the robot would not take a day or week for this, but rather a couple of hours,” said Amor.
The technology is helping developers design smarter robots. For example, a robot can learn the floor plan of a house or business and be taught to pick up misplaced items it finds. Researchers say a device like that could one day clean up your home.
Machine learning is also being adapted for medical use. A robotic prosthetic can analyze the nuances of how its user walks and adjusts as needed.
“It’s learning the relationships between the human and how it should react, said researcher Jeff Clark.
Researchers believe the teachable tech will ultimately help both man and machine learn to interact.