Many countries around the world are currently facing complex issues caused by an aging and expanding population, prompting a growing number of tech companies to explore how robots may be able to help around the home.
Focusing on robotics and AI research, the California-based Toyota Research Institute (TRI) this week showcased a prototype robot capable of handling a number of tasks around the home.
The robot is powered by software capable of dealing with the kind of complicated situations that can confuse so many other robots, especially their ability to competently handle transparent and reflective objects and surfaces.
In the video above (note: the selfie references are a nod to National Selfie Day earlier this week), TRI shows off its robot expertly wiping the surfaces of a kitchen and other rooms . While many similar robots still lack the skills to spot things like clear glasses and shiny toasters that might get in the way during such a task, Toyota’s robot is able to identify these objects. and move them carefully using pliers.
“Training robots to understand how to operate in home environments poses particular challenges due to the diversity and complexity of our homes where small tasks can add up to big challenges,” said Max Bajracharya, vice president robotics from TRI, in a press release on the institute. last work.
Bajracharya said his team was able to create a robot capable of safely handling objects traditionally difficult to recognize by designing a system that allows for the precise perception of the 3D geometry of an entire scene and at the same time the precise detection of objects and surfaces. within that scene.
He added that this combination allows researchers to use large amounts of synthetic data to train the system, which Toyota says “reduces the need for time-consuming, expensive or impractical data collection and labeling.”
While a robot wiping surface will hardly solve the most pressing problems associated with an aging population, these incremental improvements in robot technology may pave the way for new, more ambitious projects that could someday contribute in ways. meaningful to society. Indeed, TRI said its latest efforts broaden the current knowledge base for technology related to home robots, improving their ability to operate efficiently in the home.
While it may be some time before you see a robot as advanced as Toyota’s come into your home, there are actually a bunch of smart robotic devices already available to do a range of household chores so that you don’t have to.