As scientists world-wide seek to invent self-learning and self-repairing robots for use in extracting minerals from other planets or rescuing survivors from natural disasters, a group of Norwegian robotics say they have made a significant step in that direction.
The Oslo University team has successfully produced self-instructing robots which they 3D print themselves. They are currently testing how their robots can move past barriers and other obstacles – first in computer simulation and then on the floor of their robotics laboratory.
Professor Jim Torresen, team leader at the Department of Informatics, says the technology they are developing is not only relevant for space exploration but could be used for customisation of future service robots that many expect to proliferate in the homes and offices of the future
Torresen says the group is attempting to make the robots “human friendly” to enable close co-operation.
The robots are 3D printed in an adjoining laboratory by associate professor Kyrre Glette before he and research fellow Eivind Samuelsen test each newly assembled individual. The robots we are testing on now, these shapes they are still kind of basic experiments.
The robotics team has already developed three generations of robots, the latest of which can be programmed to teach themselves how to overcome obstacles via computer algorithms. The simulation program takes care of the robot design and suggests the most appropriate number of legs and joints for a particular task.