Robot learns how to use a bow and arrow by itself

Dr. Petar Kormushev at the Italian Institute of Technology managed to get a robot learn how to use a bow and arrow on its own.

The robot is an iCub, an open-source robot, took just eight tries to become perfect. It failed to hit the bullseye in the first seven attempts, but in the eighth attempt started hitting the bullseye every time. Anyway, seven shots give anyone enough time to run away.

The open-source iCub robot has been equipped with ARCHER (Augmented Reward Chained Regression) technology, a learning system (algorithm) that allows it to learn how to use bow and arrow and to hit bullseyes.

The robot also has visual and physical sensors. It resembles a 3-year-old-boy and is designed to mimic methods of learning. As algorithm can be adjusted, the robot can also be made to lean how to use a sniper rifle instead of a bow and arrow.

The iCub was developed by a group of around a dozen European universities with an aim to mimic and understand cognition and learning capabilities through interactions with the environment.

The findings with the archery learning algorithm will be presented at the Humanoids 2010 conference that will take place in December.