Osamu Hasegawa, associate professor at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, has developed a system that allows robots to solve problems by themselves after gathering data from the environment and the Internet.
“Most existing robots are good at processing and performing the tasks they are pre-programmed to do, but they know little about the ‘real world’ where we humans live,” he said.
“So our project is an attempt to build a bridge between robots and that real world.”
The Self-Organizing Incremental Neural Network, or SOINN, is an algorithm that allows robots to use their previous knowledge to carry out tasks.
In a laboratory demonstration, when the robot was required to “serve water,” it began to divide the task into a series of previously learned skills: how to hold a cup, how to take a bottle, pour water from the bottle and place a glass down.
Thus, SOINN examines environment to gather data it needs in order to organize the information into a coherent set of instructions.
Hasegawa’s team’s goal is to try to merge these abilities in order to create a machine that searches the internet to learn how to do the required tasks.
“In the future, we believe it will be able to ask a computer in England how to brew a cup of tea and perform the task in Japan ,” he said.