Wednesday November 13, 2019
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New Tool may Help Humans and Robots Work Together in Close Proximity

This algorithm builds in components that help a robot understand and monitor stops and overlaps in movement

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In this method, instructions are given to the companies staff members to perform transactions such as money transfers, as well as malicious activity on the company's network. Pixabay

A team of researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has developed an algorithm that accurately tells robots where nearby humans are headed – a discovery that may help humans and robots work together in close proximity.

Researchers at MIT and the auto manufacturer BMW have been testing ways since last year in which humans and robots might work in close proximity to assemble car parts.

Members of that same MIT team applied the new algorithm to the BMW factory floor experiments and found that instead of freezing in place, the robot simply rolled on and was safely out of the way by the time the person walked by again.

“This algorithm builds in components that help a robot understand and monitor stops and overlaps in movement — a core part of human motion,” said Julie Shah, associate professor of aeronautics and astronautics at MIT.

Tool, Humans, Robots
A team of researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has developed an algorithm that accurately tells robots where nearby humans are headed. Pixabay

“This technique is one of the many way we’re working on robots better understanding people,” she added.

Shah and her colleagues, including project lead and graduate student Przemyslaw “Pem” Lasota, are set to present their results at the “Robotics: Science and Systems” conference in Germany this month.

Existing algorithms typically take in streaming motion data, in the form of dots representing the position of a person over time, and compare the trajectory of those dots to a library of common trajectories for the given scenario.

An algorithm maps a trajectory in terms of the relative distance between dots.

According to Lasota, algorithms that predict trajectories based on distance alone can get easily confused in certain common situations, such as temporary stops, in which a person pauses before continuing on their path.

While paused, dots representing the person’s position can bunch up in the same spot.

As a solution, Lasota and Shah devised a “partial trajectory” algorithm that aligns segments of a person’s trajectory in real-time with a library of previously collected reference trajectories.

Importantly, the new algorithm aligns trajectories in both distance and timing, and in so doing, is able to accurately anticipate stops and overlaps in a person’s path.

Tool, Humans, Robots
Researchers at MIT and the auto manufacturer BMW have been testing ways since last year in which humans and robots might work in close proximity. Pixabay

The team tested the algorithm on two human motion datasets: one in which a person intermittently crossed a robot’s path in a factory setting and another in which the group previously recorded hand movements of participants reaching across a table to install a bolt that a robot would then secure by brushing sealant on the bolt.

“This technique could apply to any environment where humans exhibit typical patterns of behaviour,” said Shah. (IANS)

Next Story

What Lies Beneath These Invisible Footprints? Find it out Here

Researchers discover the invisible footprints hiding since the end of the last ice age

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Footprints
Researchers have discovered the invisible footprints hiding since the end of the last ice age. Pixabay

Using a special type of radar, researchers have discovered the invisible footprints hiding since the end of the last ice age — and what lies beneath them.

The fossilised footprints reveal a wealth of information about how humans and animals moved and interacted with each other 12,000 years ago, according to the study published in the journal Scientific Reports.

“We never thought to look under footprints, but it turns out that the sediment itself has a memory that records the effects of the animal’s weight and momentum in a beautiful way,” said study lead author Thomas Urban from Cornell University in the US.

“It gives us a way to understand the biomechanics of extinct fauna that we never had before,” Urban said.

The researchers examined the footprints of humans, mammoths and giant sloths in the White Sands National Monument in New Mexico.

Invisible footprints
The fossilised footprints reveal a wealth of information about how humans and animals moved and interacted with each other 12,000 years ago. Pixabay

Using ground-penetrating radar (GPR), they were able to resolve 96 per cent of the human tracks in the area under investigation, as well as all of the larger vertebrate tracks.

“But there are bigger implications than just this case study,” Urban said.

“The technique could possibly be applied to many other fossilised footprint sites around the world, potentially including those of dinosaurs. We have already successfully tested the method more broadly at multiple locations within White Sands,” Urban added.

“While these ‘ghost’ footprints can become invisible for a short time after rain and when conditions are just right, now, using geophysics methods, they can be recorded, traced and investigated in 3D to reveal Pleistocene animal and human interactions, history and mechanics in genuinely exciting new ways,” said study co-author Sturt Manning.

Also Read- Risk Of Low BMD Among Women With Less Sleep

GPR is a nondestructive method that allows researchers to access hidden information without the need for excavation.

The sensor – a kind of antenna – is dragged over the surface, sending a radio wave into the ground. The signal that bounces back gives a picture of what’s under the surface. (IANS)