Basic safety needs in the paleolithic era have largely evolved with the onset of the industrial and cognitive revolutions. We interact a little less with raw materials, and interface a little more with machines.
Robots don’t have the same hardwired behavioral awareness and control, so secure collaboration with humans requires methodical planning and coordination. You can likely assume your friend can fill up your morning coffee cup without spilling on you, but for a robot, this seemingly simple task requires careful observation and comprehension of human behavior.
Scientists from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) have recently created a new algorithm to help a robot find efficient motion plans to ensure physical safety of its human counterpart. In this case, the bot helped put a jacket on a human, which could potentially prove to be a powerful tool in expanding assistance for those with disabilities or limited mobility.
“Developing algorithms to prevent physical harm without unnecessarily impacting the task efficiency is a critical challenge,” says MIT Ph.D. student Shen Li, a lead author on a new paper about the research. “By allowing robots to make non-harmful impact with humans, our method can find efficient robot trajectories to dress the human with a safety guarantee.”