Mind Matters Natural and Artificial Intelligence News and Analysis

CategoryRobotics

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Can a Robot Be Programmed To Detect a Trap?

A team led by a Harvey Mudd professor programmed some digital gophers to spot possible traps while seeking food — and some without that ability

One issue in robotics is enabling the robot to detect danger. That’s harder than it might seem; it involves evaluating uncertainties. In their open access paper, a Harvey Mudd College research group describes the situation in dramatic terms by asking readers to picture a dilemma: Imagine a wealthy individual has announced they have hidden a large sum of money in an abandoned mine. You feel particularly adventurous and visit the mine in search of treasure. Approaching one of the mine’s many entrances, your excitement plummets as you notice the hazardous conditions. The precarious wooden floor planks separating you from a 50-foot drop are worn and rotted. Trails of crumbling rock intermittently fall from the roof and walls, indicating a potential…