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Robotic Archer Hits Bull’s Eye

A video shows iCub learning to improve its aim through trial and error.
September 24, 2010

In the video below, a robot called iCub demonstrates some impressive archery skills.

What’s remarkable about the robot isn’t just its headdress, but how it learns over time to improve its aim until it’s able to hit the bull’s-eye.

Researchers at the Italian Institute of Technology (IIT) in Genova taught the robot how to hold the bow and fire the arrow. A learning algorithm, dubbed “archer” (Augmented Reward Chained Regression) then used visual feedback to gradually improve the robot’s aim.

iCub was developed by a consortium of about a dozen European universities with the goal of mimicking and understanding cognition and learning abilities through interactions with the environment. The robot, which has visual and physical sensors, is designed to resemble a 3-year-old-child and mimic methods of learning.

The team will present their findings with the archery learning algorithm at the Humanoids 2010 conference in December.

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