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This Robot Knows When It's Confused and Asks For Help

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A confused robot.

Researchers at Brown University have developed a robot that can ask for help if it becomes sufficiently confused.


Brown University researchers, in an effort to get people and robots to work together more naturally and effectively, have developed a robot that measures its own confusion and then asks for help if it thinks it is required.

Previous work by the Brown team enabled a robot to analyze both speech and hand gesture cues to infer what is being asked of it, and showed this is more effective than voice commands alone.

Now, thanks to the team's latest research, a robot will be able to ask questions in order to get a more specific answer. For example, if a person asks for a wrench but there are two wrenches near each other, the robot will point to one and ask if that is the right one.

Brown professor Stefanie Tellex says the robot's response represents the latest step toward mimicking the way two people hold a conversation.

From Technology Review
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