5,000 robots are being trained by a robotics company in Germany to do jobs that are impossible in human hands, including cleaning houses, sorting vegetables and cleaning up after children.
In the latest project, a team of 3,000 students from Berlin’s Technische Universität has been tasked with building a robot to do the tasks that humans cannot.
“Robots are not just for the convenience of our everyday life, but also as the first step in a more sustainable future,” said Klaus Böhmer, a robotics professor at Technische Universtity Berlin.
The team has been using robots from China to build their first prototype, the X2, a 4m long, 3.2m high robot.
“It has a camera that looks out for the camera on the person that is operating the robot,” explained Markus Schöffler, who oversees the project.
“So, you can see how far it can reach with just the camera.”
After four years of development, the robots are ready for testing.
“I’m extremely happy,” said Schöfer.
“The students are able to understand what’s going on, and they’re able to build robots that can do it.”
It is not the first time the robotics community has been working with robots to help with a difficult task.
A robotic car was used in a car accident in China last year, when the car was hit by a tree.
“We knew we needed to learn about the car so that we could build a robot that could have a better chance of getting out of the accident,” said Professor Schöffer.
“There was a lot of work that went into making the robot, but it was very important that it had the right kind of intelligence.”
For the X1, the team built an Arduino robot from scratch, and built the prototype out of parts they had lying around.
It was tested with an old BMW 3-Series, and was able to pull a wheel out of a tree using only its front wheel.
“This is an important part of the learning process,” said Prof Schöfler.
“As an engineer, I like to build things that have lots of functionality.
I’m really proud of the outcome.”
Robotics experts at the Technische University of Berlin are hoping to expand their robot training to other industries.
“If you want to be an astronaut, or you want a doctor, you need to be able to get out of trouble.
The X2 will be able learn to do these tasks with ease,” said Dr Peter Mascaro, the director of robotics.”
But if you want the ability to do other tasks, like cleaning the house, then the robot can learn that.”
What I really hope is that this is a starting point for the future of robotics, for the robots that are going to be deployed in our homes and offices.