There are some tasks traditional robots — the rigid and metallic kind — simply aren’t cut out for. Soft-bodied robots, on the other hand, may be able to safely interact with people or slip into tight spaces with ease. For robots to reliably complete their programmed duties, they need to know the whereabouts of all their body parts. That’s a tall task for a soft robot that can deform in a virtually infinite number of ways.
MIT researchers have developed an algorithm to help engineers design soft robots that collect more useful information about their surroundings. The deep-learning algorithm suggests an optimized placement of sensors within the robot’s body, allowing it to better interact with its environment and complete assigned tasks. The advance is a step toward the automation of robot design. “The system not only learns a given task, but also how to best design the robot to solve that task,” said MIT student PhD student Alexander Amini. “Sensor placement is a very difficult problem to solve. So, having this solution is extremely exciting.” (Full Article)
You probably won’t see them marching in any demonstrations or holding up “save the planet” signs, but nonetheless, robotics greatly help the environment via the important role they play in the recycling industry. Currently, the United States finds itself in the throes of a recycling crisis. Because China has stopped accepting most of the country’s scrap plastic and cardboard, many cities and towns are now drowning in garbage. (Full Article)
BMW will adopt Nvidia’s Isaac robotic platform to upgrade its automotive factories using logistic robots with artificial intelligence (AI) computing and visualization technologies.
BMW’s goal is to improve logistics factory flow so that custom-configured cars can be produced more rapidly and efficiently. The system will be deployed to BMW factories worldwide. The robots will be based on Nvidia's end-to-end systems, with training and testing of the robots conducted using one software architecture running on the Nvidia open Isaac robotics platform. (Full Article)