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.

Slideshows

IN PICTURES: Ingram Micro Innovation hits Auckland with Hewlett Packard Enterprise

IN PICTURES: Ingram Micro Innovation hits Auckland with Hewlett Packard Enterprise

Ingram Micro completed its nationwide roadshow in Auckland last month, kicking off its Innovation Hour series with Hewlett Packard Enterprise. Uncovering the latest in storage, networking and servers, the event outlined key market trends for resellers in 2016 and beyond.

IN PICTURES: Ingram Micro Innovation hits Auckland with Hewlett Packard Enterprise
IN PICTURES: FireEye celebrates channel at 2016 Partner Conference

IN PICTURES: FireEye celebrates channel at 2016 Partner Conference

FireEye welcomed 143 channel partners and distributors to FireEye's 2016 annual Partner Conference, FireEye A/NZ Momentum - held at Establishment in Sydney. Delegates heard from senior trans-Tasman channel leaders, marketing and the product divisions in the morning, with FireEye customers, incident responders and threat intelligence analysts sharing knowledge during the afternoon.

IN PICTURES: FireEye celebrates channel at 2016 Partner Conference
​IN PICTURES: Disruption in the data centre - Can the Kiwi channel capitalise?​

​IN PICTURES: Disruption in the data centre - Can the Kiwi channel capitalise?​

With New Zealand businesses now open to innovation, the industry sits on the cusp of significant disruption in the data centre. Driven by software-defined networking, the future of the data centre is fast becoming reality, as the channel seeks to keep up, keep innovating and keep growing. APC by Schneider Electric, Lenovo and key partners outlined how the channel can capitalise at The Grill restaurant in Auckland.

​IN PICTURES: Disruption in the data centre - Can the Kiwi channel capitalise?​
Show Comments