ATLAS Robot Is Learning To Do Household Cleaning Tasks

Posted: Jan 16 2016, 4:43am CST | by , Updated: Jan 16 2016, 4:56am CST, in News | Latest Science News


ATLAS Robot is Learning to Perform Household Cleaning Tasks
Credit: IHMC

IHMC researches are teaching humanoid robot ATLAS to do cleaning, vacuuming and other household chores

Cleaning, vacuuming or taking out the trash are some of the most irritating household tasks you don’t want to do yourself. What about having a robot performing these tasks in place of you?

Florida’s Institute for Human & Machine Cognition (IHMC) is getting closer to achieve it. IHMC researchers are teaching a humanoid robot ATLAS to take on domestic chores. 

ATLAS robot is seen sweeping, vacuuming and retrieving a bit of trash from the floor in a latest video released by the IHMC. Though, robot cannot perform these tasks on its own. It requires a human mind to control it remotely.

John Carff, who operates ATLAS robot at IHMC told Spectrum IEEE. “Most of the stuff in this video is controlled by me, but in a co-active way. I’m not simply sitting there with a joystick teleoperating the robot: I tell the robot through the UI (user interface) that I want to grab a bottle off the table by clicking the bottle and making sure that the resulting hand is in the correct place. Then, the robot tells me how it’s going to move its entire body to reach that location, through a preview in the UI. If I’m okay with the plan the robot has come up with, I tell it to execute that motion.”

These cleaning tasks are a part of routine code test that is required to expand the capabilities of the machine. Plus, to avoid monotony because running same tasks over and over again get bit boring. 

Though the robot is moving around and completing various tasks but lacking human precision. Controlling robot is not as easy as it appears.  

“It takes a lot of patience and out of the box thinking to be a robot operator,” said Carff. “When you approach a task or situation you’ve never seen before, you need to think of as many ways of completing that task as you can and figure out what approach would be best for the robot. Many of the tasks ATLAS performs are done a lot differently than a human would do the same task.” 

IHMC researchers believe that there is still a lot of room for improving control algorithms and the only way to improve ATLAS’s performance is to let it perform all kinds of different tasks. 


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Hira Bashir covers daily affairs around the world.




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