Written by Staff Writer
16 Jun, 2015 | 3:48 pm
As scientists world-wide seek to invent self-learning and self-repairing robots for use in extracting minerals from other planets or rescuing survivors from natural disasters, a group of Norwegian robotics say they have made a significant step in that direction.
The Oslo University team has successfully produced self-instructing robots which they 3D print themselves. They are currently testing how their robots can move past barriers and other obstacles – first in computer simulation and then on the floor of their robotics laboratory.
Professor Jim Torresen, team leader at the Department of Informatics, says the technology they are developing is not only relevant for space exploration but could be used for customisation of future service robots that many expect to proliferate in the homes and offices of the future
Torresen says the group is attempting to make the robots “human friendly” to enable close co-operation.
The robots are 3D printed in an adjoining laboratory by associate professor Kyrre Glette before he and research fellow Eivind Samuelsen test each newly assembled individual. The robots we are testing on now, these shapes they are still kind of basic experiments.
The robotics team has already developed three generations of robots, the latest of which can be programmed to teach themselves how to overcome obstacles via computer algorithms. The simulation program takes care of the robot design and suggests the most appropriate number of legs and joints for a particular task.
The simulation program can help design the appropriate length of the legs for particular tasks and the distance required between them. Before testing, the programmers tell the simulation program the tasks they would like the robot to perform and its functions such as speed of travel and energy consumption. In response, the simulation program suggests the best solution, including body shape and number of legs.
The robotics team is currently comparing the performance of five different design of robots, with a varying number of legs.
Samuelsen takes care of comparing the virtual performance of the robots on-screen and the actual physical performance of the robots in the lab.
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