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This Robot Helps You Lift Objects--By Looking at Your Biceps

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The robot mirrors the user's movements by monitoring muscle activity.

A new robotic system has machines help people lift objects by monitoring their muscle movements.

Credit: Joseph DelPreto/MIT CSAIL

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) have developed a robotic system in which machines help people lift objects by monitoring their muscle movements, producing a smoother robot-human collaboration.

The system, called RoboRaise, involves putting electromyography sensors on a user’s biceps and triceps to track muscle activity. Then, algorithms continuously detect changes in the person's arm level, as well as minute up-and-down hand gestures the user might make for finer motor control.

During testing, users worked on tasks with a robot and were able to control it to within a few inches of the desired heights by lifting and then tensing their arms.

The system was more accurate when gestures were used, with the robot responding correctly to about 70% of all gestures.

Said CSAIL director Daniela Rus, "Using muscle signals to communicate almost makes the robot an extension of yourself that you can fluidly control."

From MIT News
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Abstracts Copyright © 2019 SmithBucklin, Washington, DC, USA


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