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March 2, 2015

Worker robots that can "think" on their feet


MIT roboticists are developing smart assembly line robots that will learn from experience working alongside humans

Assembly line workers won't be swapping stories with their robotic counterparts any time soon, but future robots will be more aware of the humans they're working alongside.

With support from the National Science Foundation (NSF), roboticist and aerospace engineer Julie Shah and her team at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) are developing next generation assembly line robots that are smarter and more adaptable than robots available on today's assembly lines. The team is designing the robots with artificial intelligence that enables them to learn from experience, so the robots will be more responsive to human behavior. The more robots can sense the humans around them and make adjustments, the safer and more effective the robots will be on the assembly line.

The research in this episode is supported by NSF award #1426799, National Robotics Initiative (NRI)/Collaborative Research: Models and Instruments for Integrating Effective Human-Robot Teams into Manufacturing.

Miles O'Brien, Science Nation Correspondent
Ann Kellan, Science Nation Producer


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