A robot that learns to interact with the world in a similar way to a human baby could provide researchers with fresh insights into biological intelligence.
Created by roboticists from Italy, France and Switzerland, “Babybot” automatically experiments with objects nearby and learns how best to make use of them. This gives the robot an ability to develop motor skills in the same way as a human infant.
The robot consists of a one-armed torso with a pair of cameras for eyes and a grasping hand. It has an in-built desire to physically experiment with objects on the table in front of it and an ability to assess different forms of interaction and learn from mistakes. If the robot fails to grasp an object securely, for example, it remembers and tries a differently strategy next time. One unbidden skill developed by Babybot was the ability to roll a bottle across its table.