Robot Smart Enough To Clean Your Room

Melissa Stusinski - Author

Mar. 2 2014, Updated 5:34 p.m. ET

A robot that can survey a room, identify all of the objects in it and where they belong, and then put them away, has been trained by researchers in Cornell’s Personal Robotics Lab.

There are already robots smart enough to scoop poop, fold towels, and pour beer, but the new robot, programmed at Cornell, puts all of those to shame, according to Science Blog.

Ashutosh Saxena, assistant professor of computer science at Cornell, stated that previous work has dealt with teaching the robot to place single objects on a flat surface. Science Blog reports that Saxena went on to explain:

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“Our major contribution is that we are now looking at a group of objects, and this is the first work that places objects in non-trivial places.”

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MSNBC notes that the robot has complex algorithms that allow it to consider the object’s nature, before deciding what to do with it. Yun Jiang, a graduate student in computer science, and also a member of the research team, stated:

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“It learns not to put a shoe in the refrigerator.”

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There is a learning curve, of course, but over time, the robot improves as it repeats the tasks and gets more familiar with its environment.

MSNBC reports that the robot is 80 percent accurate to start out, and improves to 98 percent accuracy, which is almost as good as doing it yourself, without the hassle. The robot can pick up and put away dishes, books, clothing, and toys, making it the perfect present for teens, college students, and busy families.

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Science Blog reports that the robot starts its process by surveying the room using a Microsoft Kinect 3-D camera (originally made for video gaming), which is commonly used by robotics researchers. The images are then stitched together to create a picture of the room. The robot then examines each object, deciding on the appropriate and stable placement for it. Finally, it creates a graphic simulation on how to put the object where it belongs, then carries out the movements.

Saxena noted that these movements by the robot are practical applications of computer graphics that are far removed from gaming and animating movie monsters.

Check out more information about the room-cleaning robot, as well as other robots at Cornell University’s Robotics Lab here:

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