Video: Japanese Robot Learns To Clean A Whiteboard

The Robocalypse is coming closer and closer: a team of researchers from the Italian Institute of Technology and Tokyo City University, led by Dr. Petar Kormushev, has “taught” Fujitsu HOAP-2, a mini humanoid, how to clean a whiteboard. In the amazing video embedded below, you can see a human showing the little guy what to do, followed by him replicating the actions.

Background from the makers:

The presented approach allows a free-standing, self-balancing humanoid robot to acquire new motor skills by kinesthetic teaching. The method controls simultaneously the upper and lower body of the robot with different control strategies. Imitation learning is used for training the upper body via kinesthetic teaching, while at the same time ankle/hip reaction motion patterns are used for keeping the balance of the robot. During demonstration, a force/torque sensor is used to record the exerted forces, and during reproduction, a hybrid position/force controller is used to reproduce the learned trajectories in terms of positions and forces to the end effector.

And it’s getting better. The researchers say that their “upper-body kinesthetic teaching” method can pave the way to developing robots that are able to handle various “vertical surface related tasks”, i.e. cleaning windows or painting walls.

Here’s the video:

More pictures of Fujitsu HOAP-2 can be found here.

Thanks for the tip to “Tipper Tipper”!