In an interview, University of Washington professor Maya Cakmak discusses the role of programming by demonstration (PbD) in her work on human-machine interaction, and how it could help enterprise robotics make market gains by appealing to early-career computer scientists and software engineers.
Cakmak notes with PbD, "you demonstrate a task and the robot figures out what the program should be to recreate what you demonstrated."
Using an autonomous mobile robot called Fetch, Cakmak says her students are developing unique ways for non-experts to program the robot to perform specific jobs. "What we're trying to do is let a person program manipulator actions by demonstration, and then define those," she notes.
Cakmak envisions PbD enabling previously unconsidered use cases for robots. "People who see problems can figure out how to use robots to solve them," she says. "It will empower those people to program robots for themselves."
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