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Ultra-Fast, the Robotic Arm Can Catch Objects on the Fly

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Ultra-Fast, the Robotic Arm Can Catch Objects on the Fly
Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (05/12/14) Sarah Perrin  (from ACM TechNews on 14 May 2014)

Researchers at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne’s (EPFL) Learning Algorithms and Systems Laboratory have developed a robot that can react in real time to grasp objects with complex shapes and trajectories in less than five hundredths of a second. The arm measures about 1.5 meters in length, and the robot keeps it in an upright position. The arm has three joints and a hand with four fingers. The researchers note the ability to catch flying objects requires the integration of several parameters and reacting to unforeseen events in record time. “Today’s machines are often pre-programmed and cannot quickly assimilate data changes,” says EPFL’s Aude Billard. To overcome this limitation, the researchers developed a new technique, programming by demonstration, which does not give specific directions to the robot, but rather shows examples of possible trajectories to the robot. In the first learning phase, objects were thrown several times in the robot’s direction. The robot uses a series of cameras to create a model for the objects’ kinetics based on their trajectories, speeds, and rotational movement. The researchers then translate the data into an equation that enables the robot to position itself very quickly in the right direction.

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Written by youryblog

May 14, 2014 at 5:46 PM

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