Engineers at Columbia University, in New York, have reached a pinnacle in robotics inventions, inventing a mechanical arm able to programme itself – even after it is malfunctioned. Professor Hod Lipson, who leads the Creative Machines lab, where the research was carried out, likened the robotic arm to how a “newborn child” adapts to their environment and learns things on its own. The group of scientists claimed this is the first time a robot has shown the ability to “imagine itself” and work out its purpose, figuring out how to operate without inbuilt mechanics. In the study, published in the journal Science Robotics, Prof Lipson said: “This is perhaps what a newborn child does in its crib, as it learns what it is.
“While our robot’s ability to imagine itself is still crude compared to humans, we believe that this ability is on the path to machine self-awareness.”
After spending around 35 hours moving at random, the mechanism was able to grasp intensive computing knowledge and figure out its capabilities.