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A Glimpse Into the Future of Robotic Technology


A humanoid robot.

An EU-funded project has developed a model robot that can acquire awareness of its surroundings, and use its memory to reach for objects.

Credit: ProjectAiko.com

Accurate spatial perception and smooth visual-motor coordination have long been a stumbling block in creating human-like robots, and the European Union-funded EYESHOTS project aimed to address these issues.

The project's researchers developed a model robot that can acquire awareness of its surroundings and use its memory to reach for objects. Beyond advancing robotic mechanics, the technology also will improve diagnoses and rehabilitation techniques for degenerative disorders.

The team's experts in robotics, neuroscience, engineering, and psychology studied neural coordination in monkeys to create computer models. The computer model combines visual images with eye and arm movements, as occurs in the cerebral cortex of the human brain. For people, three-dimensional space is mediated through movements of the eyes, head, and arms, which enables the observing, reaching, and grabbing of objects; this indicates that the perceptual capabilities of a humanoid robot must be closely tied to its motor system. The team's humanoid robot can move its eyes and focus on one point, learn from experience, and use its memory to reach for objects without looking at them first.


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