Robot Learns How to Cook via YouTube

Image Credit: Erik Charlton/Flickr

By Jordan Novet
Venture Beat

Researchers have come up with a new way to teach robots how to use tools simply by watching videos on YouTube.

The researchers, from the University of Maryland and the Australian research center NICTA, have just published a paper on their achievements, which they will present this month at the 29th annual conference of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence.

The demonstration is the latest impressive use of a type of artificial intelligence called deep learning. A hot area for acquisitions as of late, deep learning entails training systems called artificial neural networks on lots of information derived from audio, images, and other inputs, and then presenting the systems with new information and receiving inferences about it in response.

The researchers employed convolutional neural networks, which are now in use at Facebook, among other companies, to identify the way a hand is grasping an item, and to recognize specific objects. The system also predicts the action involving the object and the hand.

To train their model, researchers selected data from 88 YouTube videos of people cooking. From there, the researchers generated commands that a robot could then execute.

“We believe this preliminary integrated system raises hope towards a fully intelligent robot for manipulation tasks that can automatically enrich its own knowledge resource by “watching” recordings from the World Wide Web,” the researchers concluded.

Read their full paper, “Robot Learning Manipulation Action Plans by ‘Watching’ Unconstrained Videos
from the World Wide Web,” here (PDF).


After years of research and a series of unpleasant experiences concerning the current child protection services system, Alec Cope decided to combat the cancerous corruption through information. Freelance writing articles as a form of protest and distributing them throughout his former high-school and local area, Alec struck special chords with whomever he was in contact with.

Alec has been involved in activism such as sit down protests as well as Idle No More gatherings. Being independent for the majority of his time, Alec became a member of the WeAreChange family to assist one of the organizations that inspired him to become active in the first place. With a larger platform and positive support Alec has committed the majority of his time to research, writing, and maintaining social media with the goal to continue expanding the awakening sweeping throughout all levels of society.

Growing up within a rural area in Northern Michigan as well as being a native American descendant, Alec is seeking to expose environmental abuse in his state as well as globally. A high-school dropout, Alec chases his passion for writing and empowering individuals while showing any isolated person that they too can overcome the odds with a community that will support them. Alec lives in the lower peninsula of Michigan near Kalamazoo.

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