Wednesday 19 August 2015

Robots Learn to Evolve and Improve


A team of engineers at University of Cambridge has developed new age robotic system, which possesses the capability to independently build and improve its offsprings. This robotic system has surprised everyone with its ability to evolve with times and improve its performance in much effective manner. A robotic arm essentially helps in developing the offsprings or babies, which get better with passing iteration. The ultimate of this research as published in the journal PLOS One states to develop robots which can adapt to their surroundings.

How offsrpings are created by the robot? 

In the experiments carried out by the engineers, a mother robot is entrusted with the task of designing, building and testing ten generation of offspring robots. The baby robots during the experiment consist of plastic cubes fitted with motor inside. The baby robots are assembled by a mother robot arm which craftily gules them together in different configures as per its own choice. Though this system might appear very simple but it is a rigorous exercise in itself.

It is left at the discretion of the mother robot to assess how much mobility will be given to the babies. Baby robots don’t require any human intervention in their movement and the design improves considerably with each new iteration. Mother robot has been able successfully build ten generations of children with improved movement capability. The final iteration or version of baby robot was able to move distance twice the distance of the first one.

Evolving qualities are at par with living beings 

This research was conducted with an aim of gaining new insights about how the living things evolve. Biology had long tried to find the answer to the emergence of intelligence in the living organisms with the use of theory of evolution. The researchers at Cambridge University are trying to explore the same ministry through the use of robotic system. A lead researcher had stated that most of the time people think that robots are developed to perform repetitive task with increased efficiency. In short, robots are typically designed as an aid in mass production but no effort is made at bringing mass customization. But researchers here tried to see whether robots are capable of possessing innovation and creativity or not.

The future prospects of this new age robotic system 

Researchers had not meaninglessly conducted their experiment to just see the evolving and adapting capability of the robotic system. But they also ensured that these robots fit into working on projects with the help of enhanced capabilities. An application of this system can be seen by employing the robots in car manufacturing units where they easily pick out the defects in the cars and fix them. In agricultural field, robots can be used to find out new and different ways of harvesting in order to improve the yields.

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