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Can you teach a robot to flip a pancake?

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A robot learning to flip pancakes from Sylvain Calinon on Vimeo.

Even if you put science fiction aside, it’s not hard to imagine a seemingly endless number of real-world applications for robotic technology. But have you ever wondered how a robot learns to perform its duties?

In this video, a robot learns to flip a pancake using “reinforcement learning” after having been guided through the move by a trainer (who used “kinesthetic teaching”). It takes about 50 somewhat hilarious attempts before the Barrett WAM 7 DOF manipulator gets the knack of it.

The work is being done by Dr. Petar Kormushev and Dr. Sylvain Calinon at the Advanced Robotics department of the Italian Institute of Technology (IIT) in Genova, Italy.

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Marc Escobosa

As the lead designer for nearly all major releases of the Arena application from 2001 to 2012, Marc played the chief role in crafting the user experience for all Arena ...

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