Improved ‘brains’ grant robots dexterity that could soon rival humans

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During this year's EmTech Digital conference, UC Berkeley Professor Ken Goldberg unveiled the latest version of a system that MIT Tech Review called the "most dexterous robot ever created." Image credit: World Pro News
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It might not look that special, but the robot above is, according to a new measure, the most dexterous one ever created. Among other tricks, it could sort through your junk drawer with unrivaled speed and skill. The key to its dexterity is not in its mechanical grippers but in its brain. The robot uses software called Dex-Net to determine how to pick up even odd-looking objects with incredible efficiency.

[Professor Ken] Goldberg’s robot is a lot closer to matching the adroitness of a human than anything developed previously. Industrial robots with better dexterity could find application in warehouses and factories as well as hospitals and homes.

Humans are capable of between 400 and 600 mean picks per hour. In a contest organized by Amazon recently, the best robots were capable of between 70 and 95. The new machine reaches 200 to 300 mean picks per hour, Goldberg says. The results will be presented at a conference in Australia later this year. During his presentation, Goldberg added that within five years, he expects that robots will reach “human or even superhuman mean picks per hour.”

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Besides factory or warehouse work, more sophisticated manipulation may lead to the first useful robots for helping people in places such as hospitals and elder-care facilities.

Read full, original post: This is the most dexterous robot ever created

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