Researchers at the University of Tokyo in Japan have demonstrated how to teach a PR2 robot to perform simple repairs on itself by tightening its own screws. Using this skill, the robot was also able to augment itself, adding accessories like hooks to help it carry more objects.
The researchers equipped the robot with computer-aided design (CAD) data that tells it exactly where all of its screws are. While the robot cannot directly detect on its own whether a specific screw needs tightening, it can tell if its physical pose does not match its digital model, which suggests that something is awry.
If the loose screw is located in a convenient place, the robot can use its continuous wrist rotation for tightening. If a screw is located in a position that requires an Allen wrench, the robot can regrasp the tool repeatedly as it slowly tightens the screw.
From IEEE Spectrum
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