CoBots - Collaborative Robots Ask Humans For Help
Autonomous robots have come a long way, but CMU computer scientists have a strategy to stretch the capabilities of robots. When a CoBot gets stuck in performing a task—when it needs to call an elevator, pick up an object, or find something that’s missing—it will ask the nearest human for help. If no one is nearby, a Cobot will even send out an office-wide e-mail asking for help.
(CoBots - Collaborative Robots)
Short for 'collaborative robot,' these futuristic service robots can go to a requested location, transport items between locations, and guide people. The CoBot robots autonomously plan to respond to task requests, execute their plans by moving accurately and safely, and follow what [Manuela Veloso, Herbert A Simon Professor of Computer Science at CMU] calls novel symbiotic autonomy.
Symbiotic autonomy refers to the idea that while a CoBot can navigate autonomously in indoor environments, it is aware of its perceptual, cognitive and actuation limitations. CoBots, which are armless laptops on wheels, will ask nearby humans for help when stymied, such as when pressing elevator buttons or picking up objects.
Currently, three CoBots offer their help in the Gates and Hillman centers while one works in another nearby space...
"Our project is really unique in terms of the true deployment of mobile robots. Under the remarkable work of my students, in particular Joydeep Biswas, Brian Coltin and Stephanie Rosenthal, the CoBot robots have autonomously navigated in the Gates Hillman Centers for more than 400 kilometers," she noted.
Veloso and her team have big plans for their CoBots.
"There are many scientific issues still left to address," Veloso explained. The ongoing research continues to address the increasing in robustness to varied, dynamic environments such as corridor versus open areas, dark/bright areas more or less crowded areas; interaction with people such as speaking, conversing or learning; and task performance using multiple robots, object manipulation, and task interruption.
This collaboration with robots was noted in Harry Harrison's 1956 short story The Velvet Glove, in which robots held virtually all jobs:
"... whenever a robot finds something it can't identify straight off... it puts whatever it is in the hopper outside your window. You give it a good look, check the list for the proper category if you're not sure, then press the right button and in she goes."
An hour passed before he had his first identification to make. A robot stopped in mid-dump, ground its gears a moment, and then dropped a dead cat into Carl's hopper... Something heavy had dropped on the cat, reducing the lower part of its body to paper-thinness.
Castings... Cast Iron... Cats... There was the bin number. Nine.
(Read more about humans helping robots)
I should also mention Ava learning software from The Calcutta Chromosome, a 1995 novel by Amitav Ghosh. In the story, Ava is an artificial intelligence program that has human help in identifying objects:
Antar had met children who were like that: Why? What? When? Where? How? But children asked because they were curious; with these AVA/Iie systems it was something else - something that he could only think of as a simulated urge for self-improvement. ..
She wouldn't stop until Antar had told her everything he knew about whatever it was that she was playing with on her screen…
Update: One of the examples of fictional robots working with people from my childhood - Uniblab socializing and working with George Jetson circa 1962.
Uniblab works with George Jetson)
Via CMU and CoBot Robots and Technology Review.
Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 11/13/2014)
Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.
| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |
you like to contribute a story tip?
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add
Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )
Related News Stories -
Entire Planet Modeled In New MS Flight Sim
'CIC uses [it] to keep track of every bit of spatial information that it owns...' - Neal Stephenson, 1992.
String Art Courtesy Of Robot Artist
The number of different ways to span a thread between a larger number of hooks is astronomical.
Tetraplegics Dominate Avatar Races
Well, just speaking brain-to-computer...
IBM's Grain Of Sand Computer
'Our ancestors... thought to make the very sand beneath their feet intelligent...' - Stanislaw Lem, 1965.
Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!)
is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for
the Invention Category that interests
you, the Glossary, the Invention
Timeline, or see what's New.
Entire Planet Modeled In New MS Flight Sim
'CIC uses [it] to keep track of every bit of spatial information that it owns...'
FlyZoo Robot Hotel By Alibaba
'... hotels that specialized in non-human service.'
Implanted Memories Provide Songs To Birds
Finches can't tell the difference.
Robot Tuna Swims As Fast As Nature's Tuna
'With one fluid motion, it surged forward, plunged, and was gone.'
Shapeshifter Robot Is Comprised Of Cobots
'Its lines wavered, flowed, and then painfully reformed. For an interval, the device struggled with itself...'
Google Commits To Fighting Deepfakes
'The program raced up the screen one scan line at a time, subtly smoothing, deleting and coloring.'
China Accused Of Harvesting Organs From Unwanted Groups
'The death penalty was his immortality, and he would vote the death penalty for any crime at all.'
Osmiridium Sounds Like Science Fiction (But It's Not!)
I can't resist science-fictional elements. Especially when they're real.
When Will We See The First Space Hotel?
'The heart of it was a vast hexagonal structure of welded metal, ten miles across...'
SpaceX Starhopper Has Flash Gordon Style
SpaceX makes retro cool spacecraft.
Mindar The Robot Buddhist Priest Offers A Blessing
'Not working is the hardest work of all.'
Does Your Company Need A 'Chief Dreamer'?
As far as the future is concerned 'they're the only experts we have'.
Helios Modular Touch Screen Wall Lights
'The walls and ceiling bore an irregular spacing of illuminum tiles...'
Zephyr Solar-Electric Stratospheric Drone
'The planes flew continuously, twenty-four hours a day...'
Robot Hummingbird Hovers Biomimetically
'With a buzz... it started out on its journey.'
Harvest Water From Air With Sunlight
'The atmosphere yielded its moisture with reluctance.'
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories