Action-Generalising Robot Is A Crucial Step Towards Robot Butlers

Willow Garage's PR2 robot already knew how to find its own electrical outlet. Now that it's also learning how to generalise actions, it's only a matter of time before it's mixing me the perfect highball.

Basically, PR2 has been programmed such that when you teach it how to perform an action - such as pouring a beverage out of a can and into a cup - it will then be able to repeat that action regardless of the size and relative position of the objects involved. This is a huge step forward in robotics development, since it saves you the trouble of having to program, in the poured beverage example, every permutation of can and cup size. The robot learns on its own how to deal with each unique situation. Situations like, say, two parts whiskey, splash of soda. Hop to it, PR2! [Willow Garage via Bot Junkie]

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