Nico sees himself in a mirror


nico-self-aware.jpgNico is a robotic creation from Yale University scientists Kevin Gold and Brian Scassellati, and this humanoid robot boasts one capability that most, if not all, of the other robots in the field still do not possess – the ability to recognize itself in a mirror. Other than a select number of animals and humans, no other lifeform (organic or otherwise) has the ability to identify himself as…well, “self”. This revolution was made possible as the scientists wrote an algorithm that enables Nico to classify various objects as “self,” “other,” or “neither”, depending on the information received from a camera located just behind each of it’s eyes.

The software system programmed into Nico is capable of identifying himself as “self” each time his arm is raised while looking into a mirror. This is made possible by comparing the captured images along with the pre-programmed alignment image, but if no match is found, the software will automatically assign the probability of such an image to someone or something else. The implications are astounding, although you must but wonder just how big a database of object images must be stored in order for a robot to remember and recognize most of the everyday objects that we see around us?

Unfortunately, Nico has not been dressed up yet (facially at the very least), so I wonder whether the same algorithm will be able to recognize itself when you apply all the necessary such as skin, hair, facial features, and the ilk. Still, it is pretty neat to have a robot actually know who he or she is, without walking around cluelessly and staring at the mirror as if it was one long, unending pathway with somebody blocking the way. The possibilities of robot self-awareness include teaching robots by imitation, while recognizing their own limbs make it easier to process the act of walking across uneven terrain or handling different tools and objects.

Source: American Inventor Spot

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