by Staff Writers
Pullman WA (SPX) May 18, 2016
Researchers at Washington State University are using ideas from animal training to help non-expert users teach robots how to do desired tasks. The researchers recently presented their work at the international Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems conference, a leading scientific gathering for agents and robotics research.
As robots become more pervasive in society, humans will want them to do chores like cleaning house or cooking. But to get a robot started on a task, people who aren't computer programmers will have to give it instructions. "We want everyone to be able to program, but that's probably not going to happen," said Matthew Taylor, Allred Distinguished Professor in the WSU School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. "So we needed to provide a way for everyone to train robots - without programming."
User feedback improves robot performance
For the study, the researchers varied the speed at which their virtual dog reacted. As when somebody is teaching a new skill to a real animal, the slower movements let the user know that the virtual dog was unsure of how to behave. The user could then provide clearer guidance to help the robot learn better.
"At the beginning, the virtual dog moves slowly. But as it receives more feedback and becomes more confident in what to do, it speeds up," Peng said.
The user taught tasks by either reinforcing good behavior or punishing incorrect behavior. The more feedback the virtual dog received from the human, the more adept the robot became at predicting the correct course of action.
Applications for animal training
The researchers have begun working with physical robots as well as virtual ones. They also hope to eventually use the program to help people learn to be more effective animal trainers.
Intelligent Robot Learning Laboratory at WSU
All about the robots on Earth and beyond!
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2017 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement|