The Robot Archer

With robots being created to clean windows, mow lawns and vacuum your carpet we thought we’d show you something a little more interesting.

Meet iCub the robot archer. Scientists at the Italian Institute of Technology have created a cute, childlike robot that can actually learn to shoot a bow an arrow by itself by using a kind of trial and error algorithm.

Just as “trial and error” sounds, this little robot learns from its mistakes whether it be power, trajectory or aiming and will continue to do so until he/it (whichever you’re more comfortable with) hits the bulls-eye. Just so you know, the scientists behind iCub haven’t intended it to be the beginnings to an army of robot archers. Rather, they have assured, that this particular skill was chosen for its inherent, immediate and obvious reward system and marry that with image processing and motor control, you have iCub.

The algorithm that iCub uses is called (aptly named) Augmented Reward Chained Regression which, according to the scientists…

“implements a camera to process the bull’s-eye image, and his previously fluffed attempts, to figure out the perfect angle, force and trajectory to make the winning shot.”

iCub, along with his bow and arrow (though not sure about the indian head-dress) will be presented at the Humanoids conference in Tennessee this December. According to the conference’s program, he’ll be joined by a passenger carrying biped, musical conducting robots, a Mini-Humanoid Pianist and a robot that can play table tennis.


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