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This robot is ‘most nimble-fingered’ yet

Washington D.C. [USA]: Grabbing the awkwardly shaped items that humans pick up in their day-to-day lives is a slippery task for robots, but this newly-built robot can pick up and move unfamiliar, real-world objects with a 99 percent success rate.

UC Berkeley’s roboticists Ken Goldberg, Jeff Mahler and the Laboratory for Automation Science and Engineering (AUTOLAB) created the robot, called DexNet 2.0.

DexNet 2.0’s high grasping success rate means that this technology could soon be applied in industry, with the potential to revolutionize manufacturing and the supply chain.

DexNet 2.0 gained its highly accurate dexterity through a process called deep learning. The researchers built a vast database of three-dimensional shapes, 6.7 million data points in total, which a neural network uses to learn grasps that will pick up and move objects with irregular shapes. The neural network was then connected to a 3D sensor and a robotic arm.

When an object is placed in front of DexNet 2.0, it quickly studies the shape and selects a grasp that will successfully pick up and move the object 99 percent of the time. DexNet 2.0 is also three times faster than its previous version.

DexNet 2.0 was featured as the cover story of the latest issues of MIT Technology Review and was called “the most nimble-fingered robot yet.” (ANI)