VIDEO: Worker robots that can "think" on their feet

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CSAIL roboticists are developing smart assembly-line robots that will learn from experience working alongside humans. Assembly line workers won't be swapping stories with their robotic counterparts any time soon, but future robots will be more aware of the humans they're working alongside.

With support from the National Science Foundation (NSF), researcher Julie Shah and her team at CSAIL are developing next generation assembly line robots that are smarter and more adaptable than robots available on today's assembly lines. The team is designing the robots with artificial intelligence that enables them to learn from experience, so the robots will be more responsive to human behavior. The more robots can sense the humans around them and make adjustments, the safer and more effective the robots will be on the assembly line.

"We have a very accurate picture of where the person is in the space, and the robot can use that in its decision making to decide what task it does next and how it moves through the space," said Shah. "We want anyone to be able to come in and teach a robot the way I would teach another person. We designed very fast algorithms that are able to take this real-time information and adapt the robot's motion plan."

Learn more on the NSF site: http://www.nsf.gov/news/special_reports/science_nation/robotcolleagues.jsp