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November 20, 2014 AT 10:00 am

3D printed self-learning, self-repairing robots can adapt to extreme environments #3DxRobotics #3DThursday #3DPrinting

3D printed self-learning, self-repairing robots can adapt to extreme environments, from 3Ders.org:

…A team of researchers at Oslo University’s Department of Informatics has developed a category of robots that, through simulation programs and 3D printing, adapt to unforeseen obstacles. In turn, these self-improving robots can enter hazardous areas and perform tasks in situations too extreme for human involvement, such as radioactive sites, deep mines, or even distant planets.

The real-world uses for these robots are vast. One possible application, as described ay Associate Professor Kyrre Glette, imagines a robot entering a wrecked power plant and stumbling upon an unforeseen staircase. The robot is able to take a photograph, analyze the situation, and, using its integrated 3D printer, produce a new part, or even a new robot, that can negotiate the stairs. The entire scenario plays out without human interaction and without endangering or delaying the mission.

…However, the transition from simulated design to 3D printed robot is not perfect. The chief obstacle faced by the Informatics team thus far has been closing the so called “reality gap” between what the simulated robots can accomplish, versus their performance in the laboratory.

“Once the robots have been printed, their real-world functionalities quite often prove to be different from those of the simulated versions,” explains researcher Mats Høvin, “We are therefore studying how the robots deteriorate from simulation to laboratory stage.”

In order to close this gap and to create robots that are as good as, or even better than their simulated counterparts, researchers have set up obstacle courses to test how their robots can self-teach and self-adapt when confronted with new obstacles….

Read More.

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