European researchers working on the RoboHow project have developed a robot called PR2 that is learning to make pizzas and pancakes by reading through WikiHow's written directions.
The RoboHow project, which is focused on teaching robots to understand language, could make it easier for people to communicate instructions to robots, and provide a way for machines to determine how to perform unfamiliar tasks. The research also could be useful as robots become more commonplace and need to work more closely with people.
"If you have a robot in a factory, you want to say, 'take the screw and put it into the nut and fasten the nut,'" says Michael Beetz, head of the Artificial Intelligence Institute at the University of Bremen, where the RoboHow project is based.
After a robot learns how a specific set of instructions relates to a task, its knowledge is added to an online database called Open Ease, through which other robots can access that understanding.
The robots also learn by watching videos of humans performing tasks, and studying virtual reality data when humans have performed tasks wearing gloves enabling their actions to be tracked.
"Succeeding in this domain will require a tight integration of natural language, grounding the understanding via perception, and planning complex actions via manipulation algorithms," says Carnegie Mellon University professor Siddhartha Srinivasa.
From Technology Review
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