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Robot Unties Knotted Cables but Can't Pick Them Up


Explained Ken Goldberg at the University of California, Berkeley, “There’s a beautiful mathematical body of theory out there on knots, and it’s very abstract. It generally abstracts the problem into graphs and graphical structures. We ap

Credit: New Scientist

University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley) researchers have developed a robot that can untie knotted cables using the grippers on its arms.

The table-mounted robot features a camera that observes visible light, measures depth, and feeds images into an artificial intelligence algorithm, which uses the data to generate a map of the cables’ orientations and configurations.

The robot achieved a 67% success rate in untangling simple knots in a braided 2.7-meter micro-USB to USB cable; that dropped to 50% for more complex knots.

Said UC Berkeley’s Ken Goldberg, “Cables are difficult to perceive, even with the best of cameras and techniques, and they’re also difficult to manipulate because of their flexibility and their small size and their tendency to spring out and do things that are very unpredictable.”

From New Scientist
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