“Blue” Is Ready to Help Around the House


Researchers at UC Berkeley made a robot named Blue that can be a good companion in the household / Photo by: Introvert via Wikimedia Commons


A team of researchers at the University of California, Berkeley has designed “Blue,” a low-cost, human-friendly robot that the university hopes would eventually be able to master human house tasks through the combined efforts of artificial intelligence (AI) and deep reinforcement learning.

According to an article in Science Daily, the robot is created by Pieter Abbeel, who is a professor of electrical engineering and computer sciences at UC Berkeley. Together with postdoctoral research fellow Stephen McKinley and graduate student David Gealy, the team was able to complete Blue, which is the fulfillment of a future in which robots are also equally useful at home.

It’s not likely that robots will—in the typical over-the-top belief—overpower or take over the human world in a blown-out fictional way of world domination. Instead, what they will do is become part of many aspects of our everyday lives.

In big companies with production lines, robots are being made into softer versions of themselves for better human interaction, and some are even being fitted with machine learning capabilities that allow them to understand even their maintenance requirements.

Blue’s “durable, plastic parts and high-performance motors” work much the same way, with the added bonus that it will be used in homes and will cost much, much lower than the high-powered ones in the production lines.

For the last 10 years, Abbeel has been working on deep reinforcement learning algorithms that will work well on the robots. The result is a robot that, although not necessarily equipped with a giant resource of tasks, can still be taught by humans themselves in order to complete a task.

"With a lower-cost robot, every researcher could have their own robot, and that vision is one of the main driving forces behind this project—getting more research done by having more robots in the world," McKinley said.