Dr. Otto Gunther Octavius, also known as Doc Ock, the super villain, may soon become a reality!!! Maybe in the future, Spider-Man may have many highly intelligent mad scientists attacking him on the street.
A dangling robot arm that was created to have the agility of an elephant trunk, has been engineered by a German company to learn movements just like a human baby would, by trial and error. The robot arm can ‘learn’ to replicate certain positions using commands via an action known as “goal babbling.” Through this process, the robot ‘remembers’ changes it feels in its pneumatic arm ‘muscles’.
Human children use this similar approach when learning to interact with the world. New Scientist says it’s through trial and error. A process which is fundamental in problem solving. It is characterised by repetition until there is success or until the person stops trying. In the case of the robot arm, it continues to ‘try’.
The robot was first built by Festo an engineering firm in 2010; however, it wasn’t able to reproduce precise movements without exact programming. With its new abilities, even a regular person can teach it to do different commands. The first time the robot is given a command, it is forced into position. The second time, it moves more easily because its memory remembers the initial movements. The robot can be trained to pick up all sorts of items—“anything from light bulbs to hazelnuts,” says New Scientist.
So we may be a long way from Doc Ock’s superhuman strength, but it may only be one ‘trial and error’ away.
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