Mother plucker: Steel fingers guided by AI pluck weeds rapidly and autonomously

Enlarge / The Ekobot autonomous weeding robot roving around an onion field in Sweden. (credit: Ekobot AB)

Anybody who has pulled weeds in a garden knows that it's a tedious task. Scale it up to farm-sized jobs, and it becomes

New method uses crowdsourced feedback to help train robots

To teach an AI agent a new task, like how to open a kitchen cabinet, researchers often use reinforcement learning — a trial-and-error process where the agent is rewarded for taking actions that get it closer to the goal.

In …

This 3D printer can watch itself fabricate objects

With 3D inkjet printing systems, engineers can fabricate hybrid structures that have soft and rigid components, like robotic grippers that are strong enough to grasp heavy objects but soft enough to interact safely with humans.

These multimaterial 3D printing systems …

“Do not open robots,” warns Oregon State amid college food delivery bomb prank

Enlarge / A 2020 file photo of a Starship Technologies food delivery robot. Food is stored inside the robot's housing during transportation and opened upon delivery. (credit: Leon Neal/Getty Images)

On Tuesday, officials at Oregon State University issued a warning

New technique helps robots pack objects into a tight space

Anyone who has ever tried to pack a family-sized amount of luggage into a sedan-sized trunk knows this is a hard problem. Robots struggle with dense packing tasks, too.

For the robot, solving the packing problem involves satisfying many constraints, …

Making life friendlier with personal robots

“As a child, I wished for a robot that would explain others’ emotions to me” says Sharifa Alghowinem, a research scientist in the Media Lab’s Personal Robots Group (PRG). Growing up in Saudi Arabia, Alghowinem says she dreamed of coming …

AI helps robots manipulate objects with their whole bodies

Imagine you want to carry a large, heavy box up a flight of stairs. You might spread your fingers out and lift that box with both hands, then hold it on top of your forearms and balance it against your …

Google’s RT-2 AI model brings us one step closer to WALL-E

Enlarge / A Google robot controlled by RT-2. (credit: Google)

On Friday, Google DeepMind announced Robotic Transformer 2 (RT-2), a "first-of-its-kind" vision-language-action (VLA) model that uses data scraped from the Internet to enable better robotic control through plain language commands.

A simpler method for learning to control a robot

Researchers from MIT and Stanford University have devised a new machine-learning approach that could be used to control a robot, such as a drone or autonomous vehicle, more effectively and efficiently in dynamic environments where conditions can change rapidly.

This …

A faster way to teach a robot

Imagine purchasing a robot to perform household tasks. This robot was built and trained in a factory on a certain set of tasks and has never seen the items in your home. When you ask it to pick up a …

A step toward safe and reliable autopilots for flying

In the film “Top Gun: Maverick, Maverick, played by Tom Cruise, is charged with training young pilots to complete a seemingly impossible mission — to fly their jets deep into a rocky canyon, staying so low to the …

A more effective way to train machines for uncertain, real-world situations

Someone learning to play tennis might hire a teacher to help them learn faster. Because this teacher is (hopefully) a great tennis player, there are times when trying to exactly mimic the teacher won’t help the student learn. Perhaps the …

A four-legged robotic system for playing soccer on various terrains

If you've ever played soccer with a robot, it's a familiar feeling. Sun glistens down on your face as the smell of grass permeates the air. You look around. A four-legged robot is hustling toward you, dribbling with determination. 

While …

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