Carnegie Mellon Algorithm Balances “Pick And Place” With “Push And Shove”
Clutter is a special challenge for robots, but new Carnegie Mellon University software is helping robots cope, whether they’re beating a path across the moon or grabbing a milk jug from the back of the refrigerator.
The software not only helped a robot deal efficiently with clutter, but it also surprisingly revealed the robot’s creativity in solving problems.
“It was exploiting sort of superhuman capabilities,” Siddhartha Srinivasa, associate professor of robotics, said of his lab’s two-armed mobile robot, the Home Exploring Robot Butler, or HERB. “The robot’s wrist has a 270-degree range, which led to behaviors we didn’t expect. Sometimes, we’re blinded by our own anthropomorphism.”
In one case, the robot used the crook of its arm to cradle an object to be moved.
“We never taught it that,” Srinivasa added.