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Researchers develop algorithm for better robot-human synergy

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New York: A team of researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has developed an algorithm that accurately tells robots where nearby humans are headed – a discovery that may help humans and robots work together in close proximity. Researchers at MIT and the auto manufacturer BMW have been testing ways since last year in which humans and robots might work in close proximity to assemble car parts.

Members of that same MIT team applied the new algorithm to the BMW factory floor experiments and found that instead of freezing in place, the robot simply rolled on and was safely out of the way by the time the person walked by again. “This algorithm builds in components that help a robot understand and monitor stops and overlaps in movement — a core part of human motion,” said Julie Shah, associate professor of aeronautics and astronautics at MIT. “This technique is one of the many way we’re working on robots better understanding people,” she added. Existing algorithms typically take in streaming motion data, in the form of dots representing the position of a person over time, and compare the trajectory of those dots to a library of common trajectories for the given scenario. An algorithm maps a trajectory in terms of the relative distance between dots. According to Lasota, algorithms that predict trajectories based on distance alone can get easily confused in certain common situations. (IANS)

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