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Posted by on Oct 11, 2012 in Technology |

Robot “MacGyver”, an investigation by Georgia Tech and the U.S. Navy

Although it may seem that we are talking about science fiction projects like PETMAN or AlphaDog have shown that are increasingly closer rescuers join or armies around the world, in fact, projects like DARPA Avatar or the Saffir of Naval Research Office of the United States are a sample of some of the ongoing projects that seek to deploy robots that can cooperate with humans or outright avoid having to present to a dangerous situation. One of the most interesting of these projects is the search for a human-robot collaboration, ie the robot can cooperate with a person to fulfill a certain goal, but the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) want to go further and further cooperation, working on a robot that will be able to interact with the environment and use it in their favor: the robot MacGyver .

The name of MacGyver , although it may sound like a joke, it is no accident and would have given the project leaders in the And what does the character played by Richard Dean Anderson with robotics?’s character was characterized by his wit and his ability to draw anything he could find to make a tool, a tool or a vehicle to him out of trouble and, indeed, that’s the spirit that these researchers want to move the robot.

Put another way, the robot MacGyver should be able to improvise and solve complex problems and to this end, the team has received $ 900,000 in funding from the Office of Naval Research of the U.S. Navy (which surely receive from willingly a robot of its kind).

Our goal is to develop a robot that behaves like MacGyver, the character of the TV series of the 80s, I was able to solve complex problems and escape dangerous situations using whatever he could find everyday objects by hand. [...] We want to understand the basic cognitive process that allows humans to take advantage from the use of any objects in their environment and develop an algorithm that allows robots to do tasks that they could do if they did not count with the right tools

And how well would a robot? Imagine for a moment that the robot, after an earthquake or during a fire, a person is caught in some debris. A priori, the robot could not rescue the person but after analyzing the environment, detects an iron bar and uses it as a lever to release the person.

The project certainly sounds pretty interesting and certainly has a lot of utility in the field civil and military but for now, the first step will be to develop a robot that combines some basic algorithms and a learning system to enable robots to collect, recognize objects and use them (with the idea of increasing functional capabilities). Research really is based on the design of algorithms and test them the team will use a “general purpose robot called” Golem Krang also developed at Georgia Tech

Images: Georgia Tech

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