Robots Have Started Teaching Other Robots New Skills
In an important advance that takes us one step closer to the inevitable robopocalypse, MIT researchers have developed a system that teaches robots how to acquire new skills—and then teach those skills to different types of robots.
The system is called C-LEARN, and it was developed by researchers at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL). Using C-LEARN, people who have no experience with computer programming can teach a robot how to perform a task—like dropping a flask into a bucket, or pulling a rod from a container—by providing it with some basic rules about the task, and allowing the robot to view a single demonstration of the task being completed.
Incredibly, a robot can then transfer this newly-acquired knowledge to another robot, even if the robot learning is physically different than the robot teaching. Eventually, the C-LEARN system could allow factories to utilize a host of different robot types, and not have to worry about programming each and every one of them individually. It could also help robots to quickly learn and teach new tasks in high pressure situations, such as when they’re busy exterminating the entire human species, or more practically, when they’re defusing bombs.
C-LEARN applies two basic robot teaching principles: Learning from a demonstration, and learning by brute programming, where each physical parameter has to be hand-coded by an expert. On their own, these teaching strategies come with drawbacks. With demos, robots can’t really apply lessons to other situations or environments, and with motion-planning methods, the teaching is time consuming and labor intensive. CSAIL researchers Claudia Pérez-D’Arpino and Julie Shah combined these two principles to make up for the deficiencies of each.
“By combining the intuitiveness of learning from demonstration with the precision of motion-planning algorithms, this approach can help robots do new types of tasks that they haven’t been able to learn before, like multistep assembly using both of their arms,” noted Pérez-D’Arpino in MIT News.
The first step of the teaching process is to provide a robot with information on how to reach or grasp various objects with different constraints (the “C” in C-LEARN actually stands for constraints). For example, even though certain objects may be similar in terms of shape, like a steering wheel or tire, a different set of movements is required when attaching these parts to a car. For the second stage, a human operator uses a 3D user interface to show the robot how to complete the task. In tests, after observing a single demo, robots were able to access their knowledge base, and make a suggested movement for the operator to approve or modify as needed. If there’s no operator, the robot can just make a guess (when just guessing, MIT’s test robots were successful 87.5 percent of the time, as opposed to 100 percent of the time when humans helped out).
“This approach is actually very similar to how humans learn in terms of seeing how something’s done and connecting it to what we already know about the world,” says Pérez-D’Arpino. “We can’t magically learn from a single demonstration, so we take new information and match it to previous knowledge about our environment.”
Importantly, this knowledge can then be taught to another robot. In the lab, the CSAIL researchers taught a set of tasks to Optimus, a two-armed robot designed for bomb disposal tasks. Later, it seamlessly transferred this knowledge to Atlas, an imposing bipedal robot that weighs over 400 pounds. By the end of the experiment, both robots were able to open doors, transport objects, and pull objects from containers—even though the robots had dramatic physical differences, and Atlas was never directly taught the skills by a human.
C-LEARN is an important advance because, rather than directly imitating motion, the robot has to infer the principles behind the motion, a more human-like approach. We don’t repeat each physical action we’re taught in a literal way. Instead, we integrate what we’ve learned through demonstrations, and then apply our knowledge to similar contexts.
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Years ago, I had been told by several people, that the US government frequently removes books they deem dangerous or 'sensitive' from libraries. Some are replaced with sections removed or rewritten so as to 'contain' information that should not be available to the public despite the authors intent. A key example was during the Manhattan Project when the US was trying to finalize research into atomic bombs. They removed any books that dealt with the subject and two of them were by Dr. Gustave Le Bon since they dealt with both energy and matter including radioactivity. I had been looking for these two books for many years and fortunately stumbled across two copies for which I paid about $40.00 each. I couldn't put down the books once I started reading them. Such a wealth of original discoveries, many not known or remembered today. / Page 88 - Without the ether there could be neither gravity, nor light, nor electricity, nor heat, nor anything, in a word, of which we have knowledge. The universe would be silent and dead, or would reveal itself in a form which we cannot even foresee. If one could construct a glass chamber from which the ether were to be entirely eliminated, heat and light could not pass through it. It would be absolutely dark, and probably gravitation would no longer act on the bodies within it. They would then have lost their weight. / Page 96-97 - A material vortex may be formed by any fluid, liquid or gaseous, turning round an axis, and by the fact of its rotation it describes spirals. The study of these vortices has been the object of important researches by different scholars, notably by Bjerkness and Weyher. They have shown that by them can be produced all the attractions and repulsions recognized in electricity, the deviations of the magnetic needle by currents, etc. These vortices are produced by the rapid rotation of a central rod furnished with pallets, or, more simply, of a sphere. Round this sphere gaseous currents are established, dissymetrical with regard to its equatorial plane, and the result is the attraction or repulsion of bodies brought near to it, according to the position given to them. It is even possible, as Weyher has proved, to compel these bodies to turn round the sphere as do the satellites of a planet without touching it. / Page 149 - "The problem of sending a pencil of parallel Hertzian waves to a distance possesses more than a theoretical interest. It is allowable to say that its solution would change the course of our civilization by rendering war impossible. The first physicist who realizes this discovery will be able to avail himself of the presence of an enemy's ironclads gathered together in a harbour to blow them up in a few minutes, from a distance of several kilometres, simply by directing on them a sheaf of electric radiations. On reaching the metal wires with which these vessels are nowadays honeycombed, this will excite an atmosphere of sparks which will at once explode the shells and torpedoes stored in their holds. With the same reflector, giving a pencil of parallel radiations, it would not be much more difficult to cause the explosion of the stores of powder and shells contained in a fortress, or in the artillery sparks of an army corps, and finally the metal cartridges of the soldiers. Science, which at first rendered wars so deadly, would then at length have rendered them impossible, and the relations between nations would have to be established on new bases."
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High Voltage & Free Energy Devices Handbook
This wonderfully informative ebook provides many simple experiments you can do, including hydrogen generation and electrostatic repulsion as well as the keys to EV Gray's Fuelless Engine. One of the most comprehensive compilations of information yet detailing the effects of high voltage repulsion as a driving force. Ed Gray's engine produced in excess of 300HP and he claimed to be able to 'split the positive' energy of electricity to produce a self-running motor/generator for use as an engine. Schematics and tons of photos of the original machines and more! Excellent gift for your technical friends or for that budding scientist! If you are an experimenter or know someone who investigates such matters, this would make an excellent addition to your library or as an unforgettable gift. The downloadable HVFE eBook pdf file is almost 11MB in size and contains many experiments, photos, diagrams and technical details. Buy a copy and learn all about hydrogen generation, its uses and how to produce electrostatic repulsion. - 121 pages
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The Physics of the Primary State of Matter - published in the 1930s, Karl Schappeller described his Prime Mover, a 10-inch steel sphere with quarter-inch copper tubing coils. These were filled with a material not named specifically, but which is said to have hardened under the influence of direct current and a magnetic field [electro-rheological fluid]. With such polarization, it might be guessed to act like a dielectric capacitor and as a diode...
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