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Cooperative robots that learn: Less work for human handlers -- Science Nation


Cooperative robots that learn: Less work for human handlers

It is an unusual scientific partnership. With support from NSF, linguist Jeff Heinz and mechanical engineer Bert Tanner are teaching robots about cooperative behavior, by observing how children learn to communicate and how adults learn new languages. Among other goals, the University of Delaware researchers are aiming to help program robots as first responders in disaster situations. So, for example, a small helicopter robot which is carrying emergency supplies can't fly through a closed door, but it can communicate with a ground robot capable of opening the door. The need for robots to be responsive to changing situations is critical in disasters. Since kids learn to do many things without overt instruction, the theory is that robots could learn the same way.

Credit: National Science Foundation

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