A new spin on virtual reality helps engineers read robots’ minds
In a darkened, hangar-like space inside MIT’s Building 41, a small, Roomba-like robot is trying to make up its mind.
Standing in its path is an obstacle — a human pedestrian who’s pacing back and forth. To get to the other side of the room, the robot has to first determine where the pedestrian is, then choose the optimal route to avoid a close encounter.
As the robot considers its options, its “thoughts” are projected on the ground: A large pink dot appears to follow the pedestrian — a symbol of the robot’s perception of the pedestrian’s position in space. Lines, each representing a possible route for the robot to take, radiate across the room in meandering patterns and colors, with a green line signifying the optimal route. The lines and dots shift and adjust as the pedestrian and the robot move.
This new visualization system combines ceiling-mounted projectors with motion-capture technology and animation software to project a robot’s intentions in real time. The researchers have dubbed the system “measurable virtual reality (MVR) — a spin on conventional virtual reality that’s designed to visualize a robot’s “perceptions and understanding of the world,” says Ali-akbar Agha-mohammadi, a postdoc in MIT’s Aerospace Controls Lab.
“Normally, a robot may make some decision, but you can’t quite tell what’s going on in its mind — why it’s choosing a particular path,” Agha-mohammadi says. “But if you can see the robot’s plan projected on the ground, you can connect what it perceives with what it does to make sense of its actions.”
Agha-mohammadi says the system may help speed up the development of self-driving cars, package-delivering drones, and other autonomous, route-planning vehicles.
“As designers, when we can compare the robot’s perceptions with how it acts, we can find bugs in our code much faster,” Agha-mohammadi says. “For example, if we fly a quadrotor, and see something go wrong in its mind, we can terminate the code before it hits the wall, or breaks.”
The system was developed by Shayegan Omidshafiei, a graduate student, and Agha-mohammadi. They and their colleagues, including Jonathan How, a professor of aeronautics and astronautics, will present details of the visualization system at the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics’ SciTech conference in January.
Seeing into the mind of a robot
The researchers initially conceived of the visualization system in response to feedback from visitors to their lab. During demonstrations of robotic missions, it was often difficult for people to understand why robots chose certain actions.
The Latest on: Robot’s intentions
via Google News
The Latest on: Robot’s intentions
- Are robotic chefs the answer to staffing shortages?on April 28, 2022 at 11:02 am
The robots will be used at a standalone location in San Diego ... We are confident that this technology will be a good fit to support our growing business needs with intentions of having a positive ...
- The Hidden Sci-Fi Gem on Prime Video You Can't Afford to Misson April 27, 2022 at 3:54 pm
At its core Archive -- a 2020 sci-fi flick currently streaming on Prime Video -- is a story about robots. A trio of robots populate the world of its story. But instead of the most ...
- Chili’s Is Expanding Its Robot Servers To More Restaurants. Here’s Why.on April 27, 2022 at 5:00 am
Chili’s recently expanded deployment of Rita the robot to 51 restaurants, on top of the 10 in which the technology was already in test. The company likes what it sees on utilization metrics.
- Jack in the Box to pilot Miso's robots in its burger jointson April 27, 2022 at 4:07 am
Jack in the Box to pilot Miso's robots in its burger joints . April 27, 2022 by David Edwards Leave a Comment . Miso Robotics has agreed a par ...
- Jack in the Box to pilot Miso Robotics’ Flippyon April 26, 2022 at 11:26 am
Miso Robotics' Flippy 2 is a frying robot capable of handling about 60 frying baskets per hour, according to the company.
- Jack in the Box Rolls Out Robots to Flip Burgers and Serve Drinkson April 26, 2022 at 8:03 am
Jack in Box, for one, has harnessed the power of tech, partnering with Miso Robotics to introduce robots to one of its San Diego restaurants. Relying on a combination of artificial intelligence, ...
- Jack in the Box Turns to Robots for its Frying and Drink-Makingon April 26, 2022 at 5:08 am
Jack in the Box will become the next major restaurant chain to test robotics in the back of house as industrywide labor shortages continue to hamper the industry. The burger chain ...
- Jack in the Box is piloting Miso’s hamburger-cooking roboton April 26, 2022 at 5:00 am
You’ve got to hand it to Miso — the company knows how to sell the sizzle, as they say in the meat-cooking business. The robotics firm has been striking high-profile deals with some of the U.S.’s ...
- Jack in the Box to test kitchen robots Flippy and Sippyon April 26, 2022 at 2:00 am
Jack in the Box Inc. will begin testing Miso Robotics’ Flippy 2 frying robot and Sippy automatic beverage dispenser ... will be a good fit to support our growing business needs with intentions of ...
- QAST students develop underwater robotson April 22, 2022 at 10:36 am
A group of students from Qatar Academy for Science and Technology (QAST) have built underwater robots with guidance from an expert from Texas A&M University at Qatar (Tamuq).
via Bing News