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March 18, 2015

Humanoid robot paired with smart tablet to learn new skills

Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have paired a small humanoid robot with a smart tablet, allowing children to program the robot to learn new skills.

Children teach the robot how to play the video game "Angry Birds," dragging their finger on the tablet to whiz the bird across the screen. The robot simultaneously watches what happens and records snapshots in its memory. The machine notices where fingers start and stop and how the objects on the screen move according to each other, while constantly keeping an eye on the score to check for signs of success. When it's the robot's turn, it mimics the child's movements and plays the game. If the bird is a dud and doesn't cause any damage, the robot shakes its head in disappointment. If the building topples and points increase, the eyes light up and the machine celebrates with a happy sound and dance. Because end users can easily program the robot to learn tasks, researchers envision the robot-smart tablet system as a future rehabilitation tool for children with cognitive and motor-skill disabilities.

The research was supported in part by a grant from the National Science Foundation (grant IIS 12-08287).

To learn more, see the GeorgiaTech news story Your next opponent in "Angry Birds" could be a robot. (Date of Image: August-September 2014)

Credit: Georgia Institute of Technology

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