Our lives in 2012 have come along way from what we thought our lives would be 50 years ago. Today, we actually have robots to build our cars, do our lawn work and even clean our homes. There is now robot technology that will not only vacuum for you but can tidy up after you. But this isn’t Rosie from The Jetsons, it’s something less warm and cozy.
Researchers at the Cornell’s Personal Robotics Lab have developed a robot that will survey a room, identify objects, figure out where they belong and simply put them away. By using new algorithms, the robot can identify where shoes belong, what goes inside of a refrigerator and where to put dishes away. It’s smart enough to know shoes belong on a flat surface that is not a table, desk or inside of a microwave. It knows shoes belong on the floor.
The robot surveys the room using a Microsoft Kinect 3D camera; it then divides the room into small chunks and then computes what goes in these chunks. It then decides where items go based the researchers new algorithm. The robot has a 98 percent success rate with objects the robot could identify but those numbers fell to 80 percent with ambiguously shaped objects like articles of clothing.
The researchers are having trouble giving the robot context to where to place items. They use the example of a computer mouse. The robot knows the mouse belongs on a flat surface like a desk but it doesn’t know it belongs next to a computer’s keyboard. Even with this slight computer failure, it is still extremely impressive and remains a reminder that we are living in a future world that would’ve been unthought-of 50 years ago.