August 15, 2015
Are we on the verge of a new robot age? It at least seems that way. On Thursday, we reported on the Erica android from Japan, a humanlike robot that’s actually smart enough to notice social cues and facial expressions and interact with humans accordingly. Yesterday, we explored the various strategies through which humans can ensure job security in the midst of growin adoption of automation and robots in the workplace. This week, a team of researchers at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL) revealed their work on BeerBots, a team of three robots that work together to, well, deliver beer.
The BeerBots team consists of two “turtlebots” and one, larger robot “bartender”. Turtlebots essentially serve as waiters and travel back and forth between humans and the bartender. If, say, you want a beer brought to you in your living room, you simply place a request with a turtlebot, and that information is relayed to the bartender robot.
While the project puts the robots through a beer-delivery situation, the researchers at MIT say that the hope is to extend the model to variety of other applications, including hospitals, disaster situations, and restaurants and bars. The lab, which served as a testing ground for the BeerBots, allowed the researches to learn whether the three robots could work together to deliver items quickly, accurately, and – most importantly – do so in unpredictable environments.
(H/T The Huffington Post)
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