Robot learns to shoot bow and arrow

Researchers at the Italian Institute of Technology have developed an algorithm to allow a humanoid...

Researchers at the Italian Institute of Technology have developed an algorithm to allow a humanoid robot iCub to teach itself archery. (video still)

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:49 PM ET

The robot apocalypse took one step closer to becoming reality this weekend when researchers at the Italian Institute of Technology revealed a program that allows a robot to learn how to shoot a bow and arrow.

The algorithm, called ARCHER (Augmented Reward Chained Regression), was developed to allow the humanoid robot iCub to teach itself archery.

“Acquiring new motor skills involves various forms of learning. The efficiency of the process lies in the interconnections between imitation and self-improvement strategies,” researchers said in a release. “Similarly to humans, a robot should ideally be able to acquire new skills by employing such mechanisms.”

The robot was dressed in a dollar-store feathered head dress and armed with a toy bow and arrow.

It took the iCub eight attempts to find the bullseye by adjusting its trajectory after every shot.

The scientists helped out by slotting the arrow into the bow for the robot between shots, but hope to teach it how to pick up the bow and slot the arrow itself in the future.

The archery project is to be presented at the Humanoids 2010 conference in December.


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