Robot Adapts to Environment and Humans Too!

Something wonderful has happened… Number Five is alive!

This tagline from the 1986 movie Short Circuit could very well fit what most people will think of MIT’s new robot, Domo. This machine is able to recognize its environment – a household, for instance – and focus on specific tasks while avoiding what it identifies as obstacles. Likewise, the robot is able to assess the size and shape of objects that it’s never seen before. But more importantly, Domo is capable of very life-like interactions with humans, from a simple greeting to the handling of items he’s given.

Originally funded by NASA, the project is now subsidized by Toyota. The Japanese firm is interested in the development of home robots able to perform various tasks for the elderly or for those with impaired movements, such as wheelchair-bound people. They are also planning to develop robots that could “intelligently” assist workers on assembly lines, thus increasing productivity.

Although MIT scientists doubt that the future will see one single domestic robot doing all the house chores – but rather a team of droids performing different tasks – this could be the first step towards intelligent machines like the gentle C-3PO in Star Wars or – perish the thought! –even Alien’s evil bio-android Ash.

Source: MIT

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