Point to Robots That
Robots are being taught to brainstorm alternatives when damaged.
WHEN RESEARCHERS AT the Pierre and Marie Cu- rie University (UPMC) in Paris, France, delib- erately damaged two
of the legs of their hexapod robot, the
machine discovered for itself a novel
hopping gait that not only overcame
its injury, but proved to be faster than
its original walking program. Injured
another way, the robot found it could
move around more easily on its back.
The work was part of efforts to make
robots that can work around damage
and repair themselves when there is
no human to help them.
David Johan Christensen, associate
professor at the Technical University
of Denmark, observes: “In the future,
physical self-repair could become criti-
cal in applications where no humans
are around to assist or repair the ro-
bots; for example, in space or under-
Robotic repairs are already being
performed in space, where it is too ex-
pensive or dangerous for astronauts
to perform the job. In 2014, the Ca-
nadian Dextre robot attached to the
International Space Station replaced a
faulty camera on the arm that normal- The Dextre robot helping to repair the International Space Station in 2014.
Science | DOI: 10.1145/2852231 Chris Edwards