Some scientists study human subjects and others test samples, but scientists in Japan have built a baseball-playing robot in order to study the human brain.
A totally opposite reality to the robot controlled world of the movie ‘iRobot’ that featured AI humanoids gone bad, robots can actually be a very useful thing. From aiding the physically weak in regaining movement, to being a staple in production lines to being used in military combat, robots are everywhere, and now, thanks to the research of from a group of scientists in Japan, robots can now be used to figure out the complexities of the human brain.
The team of scientists hail from Tokyo, made up of researchers from the city’s University of Electro Communications and the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology and its their combined work that has seen them build the small, humanoid robot, which may be a source of amusement, as it can play ‘baseball’, but as the second-largest model of its kind, the tiny tech wonder is somewhat of an electronic marvel.
In order for the robot to play (it uses a ‘fan like bat’ to hit flying plastic balls), it needs to utilise it’s high powered electronic noggin which is made up of something similar to an Nvidia graphics processor (the fancy tech that powers images in laptops and PCs) with the scientists having software to control it. The robot’s processing ability is so advanced (it can mimic the functions of 100,000 brain neurons) that while it may suffer a few misses, with the help of information about the pitch of the ball, which is relayed form an accelerometer at the back of the batting cage, the robot can “crunch” the data and adjust for the next swing, just like a real-life, functioning human being would.
Of course this robot’s batting ability isn’t just for giggles as the robot has taught the researchers some important lessons about how artificial intelligence can better improve our lives. Now that scientists know how to program a robots mimicked-neurons down to a T, it leads the way for other, more advanced functions, that can aid us in our daily lives, even if we are just looking for a robot partner to play baseball with.
Source : CNN