One thing us blood pumping humans have over robots is the ability to adapt. For example if we hurt ourselves, we could just walk with a limp and move on. Robots aren’t built like that. They’re programmed to deal with specific situations. Lose a leg and they might move in circles, they can’t always just move on. Not anymore.

Nature writes about researcher Jean-Baptiste Mouret who, along with his team, has helped make robots more ‘instinctive’:

After a fault, such as the loss of one of its feet or a stuck knee, the robot uses its on-board camera to detect that something is slowing it down or preventing it from walking straight. Rather than attempting to diagnose the problem, the robot simply tries out new patterns of motion until it finds one that enables it to restore an acceptable level of performance.

Basically, the robot only needs a minute or two to figure out what’s the best way to start walking again. Read more in Nature.


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