Incredible as it may seem, we had yet to get a robot to peel a banana. Until now

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Peeling a banana may seem simple to humans, but it requires a finesse that most robotic arms lack. It has not been until now when a robot has been able to peel bananas with ease. And to achieve this, they have had to apply ‘machine learning’. In other words, the machine has had to pay attention to how we humans did it in order to replicate it successfully.

For the skin, for the uneven shape of the banana, for that rough texture and for a rather flimsy body. A banana is quite a challenge for robots, both on a physical level for the robot’s “claws” and for the “brain”, where computer vision algorithms have many complex elements to take into account.

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Quite a milestone, but still far from peeling bananas as fast as us

From the University of Tokyo, Heecheol Kim and a team of researchers have developed a machine learning system capable of analyzing the banana and being able that a connected robot can, with its two arms and two fingers, grab the banana and peel it.

To achieve this, the researchers made a human peel bananas for 811 minutes. During that time, the learning system trained for the task, dividing the process into several phases such as the process of picking it up, grabbing the tip, peeling it, and moving the banana to remove the rest of the skin.

The result shows the difficulty of this task, since there is still a long way to go before the robot is able to peel a banana as fast as we can. According to the tests, the robot was able to peel the banana without damaging it 57% of the time, in less than 3 minutes.

Those responsible are proud that this robot only needs about 13 hours of data to learn how to perform the taskas opposed to other machine learning systems that take thousands of hours and require extremely powerful GPUs.

The process of peeling the banana can be improved; the control could be finer and the time can be reduced. However, they defend that this technology will not be used only for bananas, but for other types of complex tasks that require great precision on the part of the robot.

Via | New Scientist

Peeling a banana may seem simple to humans, but it requires a finesse that most robotic arms lack. It has…

Peeling a banana may seem simple to humans, but it requires a finesse that most robotic arms lack. It has…

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