iCub Robot ARCHER Gets Weapons Training

ARCHER, the Augmented Reward Chained Regression algorithm was developed to help robots learn the skill of archery. In the following video, you can see the iCub robot learn all by itself to aim and shoot arrows at the target.

(iCub robot learns archery with ARCHER)

The learning algorithm, called ARCHER (Augmented Reward Chained Regression) algorithm, was developed and optimized specifically for problems like the archery training, which have a smooth solution space and prior knowledge about the goal to be achieved. In the case of archery, we know that hitting the center corresponds to the maximum reward we can get. Using this prior information about the task, we can view the position of the arrow’s tip as an augmented reward. ARCHER uses a chained local regression process that iteratively estimates new policy parameters which have a greater probability of leading to the achievement of the goal of the task, based on the experience so far. An advantage of ARCHER over other learning algorithms is that it makes use of richer feedback information about the result of a rollout.

For the archery training, the ARCHER algorithm is used to modulate and coordinate the motion of the two hands, while an inverse kinematics controller is used for the motion of the arms. After every rollout, the image processing part recognizes automatically where the arrow hits the target which is then sent as feedback to the ARCHER algorithm. The image recognition is based on Gaussian Mixture Models for color-based detection of the target and the arrow’s tip.

As you can see, iCub learned in just eight tries to hit the target.

I'm trying to think of a specific sf scenario in which a robot is taught to use a weapon, but I can't. Readers?

Speaking of robots that aim and shoot by themselves, see this video of the X-Brat Robot Autonomous Mech

From Petar Kormushev's website; thanks to an anonymous reader who tipped me on this story.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 9/26/2010)

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