The Hands of the Future

The Hands of the Future

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We all dream of having a robot maid that can do things for us like vacuum the floor and wash the dishes.  That dream is now a lot closer to becoming a reality thanks to some recent robotics innovations.

San Francisco’s OpenAI lab, founded by Silicon Valley hotshots like Elon Musk, has created a robotic hand called Dactyl.  It can twist, spin, and flip a block toy, to show certain sides of it. Although this would be nothing for a human hand, Dactyl learned this motion on its own, showing incredible nimbleness.  

Another robot at the University of California at Berkeley called The Gripper, uses 2 fingers to grab objects and put them in a bin.  The significance of The Gripper is that it can pick up objects that are unfamiliar. For example, it could pick up an unfamiliar item such as a ketchup bottle by comparing it to the shape of a familiar object like a screwdriver.

A different Berkeley robot called The Picker puts The Gripper to shame.  It can pick up any object, even if it has never seen it before. It has one arm with a gripper and another arm with a suction cup.  The robot can determine which tool it needs to pick up the object and sort it.

The Pusher robot called BAIR is able to push an object and predict where it will go by analyzing video images of objects being pushed.  It is able to deal with uncertainties, unlike many AI robots.

And finally, the robot we’ve all been waiting for… The Bed Maker.  This robot, analyzes the movements needed to make a bed and replicates them on an actual bed.


Story via The New York Times

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