Thursday, January 22, 2015

Robots Use Youtube Learning Tutorials to Cook Food at Institute for Advanced Computer Studies

""When it comes to teaching robots how to do things, there are some very key differences. A human knows what you mean when you say "I need a cup". A robot needs to be taught that that means it has to turn around, go to the cupboard, open it, take out the cup, close the cupboard, turn back around, return to you, manoeuvre the cup over the bench, and release the cup.

This is one of the key parts of figuring out machine learning: How can you program a robot so that it can intuit that a plastic cup, a glass and a mug may all be classified under the general term "cup"? How can you design a robot that is able to teach itself?

One way, as researchers at the University of Maryland Institute for Advanced Computer Studies are finding out, is YouTube. More specifically, cooking tutorials on YouTube. By watching these videos, robots are able to learn the complicated series of grasping and manipulation motions required for cooking by observing what humans do on the Internet.

"We chose cooking videos because everyone has done it," said UMD professor of computer science and director of the UMIACS Computer Vision Lab Yiannis Aloimonos. "But cooking is complex in terms of manipulation, the steps involved and the tools you use. If you want to cut a cucumber, for example, you need to grab the knife, move it into place, make the cut and observe the results to make sure you did them properly."

The robot uses several key systems in order to learn from YouTube videos. Computer vision, with two different recognition systems, allows the robot to visually process how the presenter grabs something, artificial intelligence processes that information, and finally language parsing helps it understand spoken commands and translate it into an action.

In this way, the robot can gather individual steps from various videos and assign them rules according to its programming, putting them together in the correct order.""

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