Menu
New MIT tech could help robots and humans work together

New MIT tech could help robots and humans work together

There could be big benefits for emergency-response teams

There's no shortage of warnings about robots taking over our jobs, but often overlooked is the potential for how robots and humans can work together.

That's the focus of new research out of MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL), which has come up with a new model for how humans can communicate with robots more effectively.

Essentially, it all boils down to protecting humans from information overload, because robots can be programmed to gather huge amounts of information -- way more than any human could process comfortably.

Say there's an emergency like an earthquake and robots are working together to collect information at the scene. They can send each other continual updates along the lines of, “I’ve passed through a door and am turning 90 degrees right” or “After advancing four feet, I’ve encountered a wall.”

It's important information for rescuers trying to understand what's happening on the ground, but it can also be too much for humans to process on the fly. That's where MIT's new model for communications comes in. It's an algorithm that helps determine the information that needs to be shared, and the researchers say it can reduce the need for communication by 60 percent. 

Ultimately, that could make it easier to design systems that enable humans and robots to work together, such as on emergency-response teams. It could have also have implications for multirobot collaborations that don’t involve humans by minimizing the power spent on communication.

The researchers tested their system on more than 300 computer simulations of rescue tasks in unfamiliar environments. Next will be tests involving humans.

“What I’d be willing to bet is that the human-robot team will fail miserably if the system is just telling the person all sorts of spurious information all the time,” said Julie Shah, an associate professor of aeronautics and astronautics and one of the paper’s two authors. “For human-robot teams, I think that this algorithm is going to make the difference between a team that can function effectively versus a team that just plain can’t.”

The communications model was presented at the annual meeting of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence last weekend.

Follow Us

Join the New Zealand Reseller News newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Featured

Slideshows

Arrow exclusively introduces Tenable Network Security to A/NZ channel

Arrow exclusively introduces Tenable Network Security to A/NZ channel

Arrow Electronics introduced Tenable Network Security to local resellers in Sydney last week, officially launching the distributor's latest security partnership across Australia and New Zealand. Representing the first direct distribution agreement locally for Tenable specifically, the deal sees Arrow deliver security solutions directly to mid-market and enterprise channel partners on both sides of the Tasman.

Arrow exclusively introduces Tenable Network Security to A/NZ channel
Examining the changing job scene in the Kiwi channel

Examining the changing job scene in the Kiwi channel

Typically, the New Year brings new opportunities for personnel within the Kiwi channel. 2017 started no differently, with a host of appointments, departures and reshuffles across vendor, distributor and reseller businesses. As a result, the job scene across New Zealand has changed - here’s a run down of who is working where in the year ahead…

Examining the changing job scene in the Kiwi channel
​What are the top 10 tech trends for New Zealand in 2017?

​What are the top 10 tech trends for New Zealand in 2017?

Digital Transformation (DX) has been a critical topic for business over the last few years and IDC is now predicting a step change as DX reaches macroeconomic levels. By 2020 a DX economy will emerge and it will become the core of what New Zealand industries focus on. From the board level through to the C-Suite, Kiwi organisations must be prepared to think and act digital when the DX economy emerges in 2017.

​What are the top 10 tech trends for New Zealand in 2017?
Show Comments