Controlling a 2D Robotic Arm with Deep Reinforcement Learning
- In this post, we’ll take our first steps towards building our own robotic arm best friend by diving into deep reinforcement learning.
- We'll develop our example in Python – where we'd like the finger of a robot (the endpoint of the second link of our arm) to reach a certain goal.
- This simple framework has enabled researchers at Google to teach robot arms fine movements such as opening a door so let’s go over in more detail what reinforcement learning is and how it works.
- The convergence of reinforcement learning algorithms is proportional to the state space and action space and if the action space is infinitely large like in the real physical world that means we’ll be waiting a long time before our arm learns anything at all.
Robot Melts Its Bones to Change How It Walks
- In a paper published in IEEE Robotics & Automation Letters, Zhao introduces a new kind of small reconfigurable robot that relies on a plastic structure that can be selectively melted and re-hardened on the fly to change joint configurations and resulting motion.
- We propose a new reconfiguration strategy by introducing into a mechanism with shape morphing joints (SMJs), which can be either soft for a compliant joint or rigid for a structure.
- Potentially, reconfigurable mechanisms with SMJs can enable adaptive robots that can adjust their sizes, shapes, or functions to fulfill multiple tasks in different environments.
- To circumvent such a problem, we choose to reconfigure the mechanical structure of a robot, which can also achieve multiple functional found in animals (different motions for walking, jumping, or swimming, for example).
UBS is trying to create 'super human' employees by bringing on hundreds of robots
- UBS is doubling-down on its bet robotics can help empower its back-office employees by freeing them up from boring tasks.
- The Swiss bank has plans to add roughly 500 robots this year with the hopes of reducing manual processes by 10%, UBS' head of operations Chris Gelvin said at a media roundtable on Tuesday.
- Potential use cases for bots also include handling mountains of paperwork from corporate actions and onboarding, which includes know-your-customer processes which are very manually intensive, Gelvin said.
- Gelvin said it's natural for the bank to sometimes shut down robots when process they were performing are no longer required.
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- Roughly 350 UBS employees have been trained on the robotics to design and build them and 2,000 have taken introductory training on the topic.
This Robot Debates and Cracks Jokes, but It's Still a Toaster
- Presumably that suited IBM just fine; the point of Project Debater isn’t to produce a robot that can Well Actually.
- I will elaborate.” It even told a joke: In defending the benefits of subsidized preschools for poor families, Project Debater acknowledged that “I cannot experience poverty directly.” It opened a rebuttal by saying, “I sometimes listen to opponents and wonder, what do they want?” That all felt askew—as when a bot uses what Clive Thompson called phatic spackle, the ums and likes of human chitchat.
- He described Project Debater’s argument as a fallacy, and said that a subsidy “doesn’t mean that those individuals who are as poor as Project Debater seems to care about are going to be those who have the ability to send their child to preschool.” That’s an interesting argument, but it also presupposes that the computer cares about something.
The wreck of a WWII US Navy aircraft carrier, lost for 76 years, has been found
- Late last month a research vessel called the R/V Petrel found the World War II aircraft carrier's wreckage more than 17,000 feet below the surface of the South Pacific, near the Solomon Islands.
- To find the Hornet, the expedition team aboard the Petrel used data from the archives of nine other US warships that sighted the carrier in the days before its demise.
- It was yet another success for the Petrel, which over the past few years has uncovered numerous World War II-era shipwrecks, representing vessels from the US, British, Italian, and Japanese navies.
- Two months later it played a pivotal role in the Battle of Midway, in which it helped sink four Japanese carriers.
- After service in Guadalcanal, the warship was bombarded by Japanese dive bombers and torpedo planes in the Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands.