AI designs unique robots in seconds
Northwestern University researchers created the first artificial intelligence system to design robots from scratch. They asked the program to make a robot that can walk on a flat surface. In response, it simulated nine designs before producing the most effective design in 26 seconds. Unlike other AI systems, TechXplore says it runs on a “lightweight personal computer.”
Technology grows quickly as new innovations transform existing ones. Case in point, this experimental AI designs robots in seconds, potentially revolutionizing the global robotics industry. Soon, it may become advanced enough to build complex machines. We only need to enter our requirements; the bot will instantly fulfill them.
This article will discuss how the latest Northwestern University AI designs robots. Then, I will complement this topic with other interesting robotics projects.
How does the AI design robots?
TechXplore reported on this AI that designs robots by sharing statements from lead researcher Sam Kriegman. “We discovered a very fast AI-driven design algorithm that bypasses the traffic jams of evolution without falling back on the bias of human designers,” he said.
“We told the AI that we wanted a robot that could walk across land. Then, we simply pressed a button, and presto; it generated a blueprint for a robot in the blink of an eye that looks nothing like any animal that has ever walked the Earth. I call this process ‘instant evolution.’”
One look at the Northwestern University robot, and you’ll notice its strange composition. It seems to be a misshapen dishwashing sponge. Kriegman and his team chose that material because their artificial intelligence program is only a part of their long-term objective.
In 2020, he wanted to create xenobots, living robots made of biological cells. The current iteration is small, squishy, jagged, and consists of inorganic materials. Nevertheless, the assistant professor of computer science believes their new robot is the “first step in a new era of AI-designed tools.”
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The researchers tested whether the AI designs robots properly by commanding it to “design a physical machine capable of walking on land.” In response, the machine started with a block roughly the size of bar soap.
It gradually designed that bot to jiggle and walk before it made the final product on the ninth attempt. The simulated robot bounces in place, hops forward, and shuffles.
The design process ran in a computer simulation that only took 26 seconds. The demo video shows a person moving it by pumping air into it. “When people look at this robot, they might see a useless gadget. I see the birth of a brand-new organism,” Kriegman said.
What are other robot projects?
Artificial intelligence is helping us create robots faster, but what can they do nowadays? Believe it or not, it could be your new boss! Polish alcoholic drink firm Dictador deployed the AI-powered robot Mika as its CEO. Even better, the robot had a BBC “interview” and said it was “always on 24/7, ready to make executive decisions and stir up some AI magic.”
The AI exec performs various tasks like spotting potential clients and picking artists to design bottles for the liquor producer. “My decision-making process relies on extensive data analysis and aligning with the company’s strategic objectives.”
“It’s devoid of personal bias, ensuring unbiased and strategic choices that prioritize the organization’s best interests,” Mika added. Dictador president Marek Szoldrowki explained why he assigned an AI bot to an executive post.
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“For us, it’s a quest: ‘What will be the future of companies like ours?’ So, we simply believe it’s worth it to involve AI. I believe that a CEO, a human CEO, and an AI CEO in the future will work hand in hand, using their strengths for making better work or better companies.”
The Korea Advanced Institute of Science & Technology (KAIST) unveiled a humanoid AI robot pilot. Professor David Hyunchul Shim said, “Pibot is a humanoid robot that can fly an airplane just like a human pilot by manipulating all the single controls in the cockpit, which is designed for humans.”
It has limbs that let it operate flight instruments designed for humans. Also, Pibot uses ChatGPT to “‘understand” and memorize flight manuals. As a result, it can pilot most vehicles.
Northwestern University AI designs robots from scratch in seconds. It only made a spongy block crawl on a flat surface, so it may not seem impressive to most people.
Yet, scientists see its massive potential to revolutionize robotics. If this system becomes more advanced, it might be able to create any robot we want based on minimal human input.
Of course, we could take advantage of this technology more easily if we knew more about the latest robotics trends. Fortunately, Inquirer Tech is a great online resource for those interested!