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Updated 9:12 AM EST, Tue, Jan 05, 2021

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Robots Learn to Cook by Watching YouTube Videos

Robot chefs

(Photo : Motoman/RobotWorx) These robots learned to cook by watching videos and retaining that knowledge.

University of Maryland researchers are now training robots to act upon receiving visual stimuli and their research has yielded some surprising results.

This robotic project is funded by DARPA's (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) Mathematics of Sensing, Exploitation, and Execution program in which scientists teach machines how to cook.

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The project aims to train robots to react according to the objects in their environment. Researchers made the robots watch YouTube videos about cooking.

After the robots processed the objects in the videos and identified them, they applied that information to objects in a real world environment.

The robots correctly identified and took objects they saw in the video. They then tried to manipulate the kitchen objects the same way they saw these objects handled in the YouTube videos without any commands programmed into them.

DARPA program manager Reza Ghanadan said this research program focuses on sensing, perception and understanding a visual scene and not just identifying objects individually. The robots now use visual cues based on a manipulation action grammar module that transforms them into actions.

Researchers are now investigating new processes that allow robots to keep this knowledge and remember it by also teaching other robots what they acquired.

Ghanadan adds that instead of the painfully long and costly process of programming code into robots to execute tasks, this study opens new avenues to explore the potential of robots learning faster and more efficiently at a much lower cost.

More importantly, robots need to share this acquired knowledge with other robots. This research can also be applied to developing technology for military repairs and logistics.

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