Well, we’ve seen this movie before (literally speaking). A group of robotics engineers at the University of Technology in Eindhoven are developing an Internet for robots; a kind of online database from which robots can download instructions and to which they can upload “experience.” According to its creators, their RoboEarth system will allow robots to share information and learn from each other, allowing the benefits of machine cognition and learning to proliferate through a network of bots. Cue the SkyNet comparisons.
But barring a declaration of war against humans, RoboEarth is actually a pretty neat idea. In fact, we were somewhat surprised to learn that, according to RoboEarth, it is the first system to allow robots to download their instructions form the Internet. Using a RoboEarth or a system like it, helper robots could learn how to do things better, pushing machine learning to new places and enhancing human-machine interaction.
How does it work? According to RoboEarth:
RoboEarth will include everything needed to close the loop from robot to RoboEarth to robot. The RoboEarth World-Wide-Web style database will be implemented on a Server with Internet and Intranet functionality. It stores information required for object recognition (e.g., images, object models), navigation (e.g., maps, world models), tasks (e.g., action recipes, manipulation strategies) and hosts intelligent services (e.g., image annotation, offline learning).
To complete their closed loop, the team will offer ROS compatible, non-bot-specific components that robot builders can take off the shelf and implement into their creations, hooking them up to the robo-web. Put on your raving shoes and see their own robot, AMIGO, download and carry out instructions in the video below.