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Engineers combine AI and wearable cameras in self-walking robotic exoskeletons

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Robotics researchers are developing exoskeletons and prosthetic legs capable of thinking and making control decisions on their own using sophisticated artificial intelligence (AI) technology. The system combines computer vision and deep-learning AI to mimic how able-bodied people walk by seeing their surroundings and adjusting their movements. "We're giving robotic exoskeletons vision so they can control themselves," said Brokoslaw Laschowski, a PhD candidate in systems design engineering who leads a University of Waterloo research project called ExoNet. Exoskeletons legs operated by motors already exist, but users must manually control them via smartphone applications or joysticks. "That can be inconvenient and cognitively demanding," said Laschowski, also a student member of the Waterloo Artificial Intelligence Institute (Waterloo.ai).


Computer vision and deep-learning AI combined in self-walking robotic exoskeletons

#artificialintelligence

Robotics researchers are developing exoskeletons and prosthetic legs capable of thinking and moving on their own using sophisticated artificial intelligence (AI) technology. The system combines computer vision and deep-learning AI to mimic how able-bodied people walk by seeing their surroundings and adjusting their movements. "We're giving robotic legs vision so they can control themselves," said Brokoslaw Laschowski, a PhD candidate in systems design engineering who leads a University of Waterloo research project called ExoNet. Exoskeletons and prosthetic devices operated by motors already exist, but users must manually control them via smartphone applications. That can be inconvenient and cognitively demanding.


In the lab: Robotic AI-powered exoskeletons to help disabled people move freely without implants

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Canadian boffins are testing semi-autonomous exoskeletons that could help people with limited mobility walk again without the need for implanted sensors. Researchers at the University of Waterloo, Ontario, are hard at work trying to combine modern deep-learning systems with robotic prostheses. They hope to give disabled patients who have suffered spinal cord injuries or strokes, or are inflicted with conditions including multiple sclerosis, spinal, cerebral palsy, and osteoarthritis, the ability to get back on their feet and move freely. The project differs from other efforts for amputees that involve trying to control the movement of machines using electrodes implanted in nerves and muscles in the limbs and brain, explained Brock Laschowski, a PhD student at the university who is leading the ExoNet study. "Our control approach wouldn't necessarily require human thought. Similar to autonomous cars that drive themselves, we're designing autonomous exoskeletons that walk for themselves."


This Week's Awesome Tech Stories From Around the Web (Through April 17)

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The massive document, produced by the Stanford Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence, is packed full of data and graphs, and we've plucked out 15 that provide a snapshot of the current state of AI." Geoffrey Hinton Has a Hunch About What's Next for Artificial Intelligence Siobhan Roberts MIT Technology Review "Back in November, the computer scientist and cognitive psychologist Geoffrey Hinton had a hunch. After a half-century's worth of attempts--some wildly successful--he'd arrived at another promising insight into how the brain works and how to replicate its circuitry in a computer." Robotic Exoskeletons Could One Day Walk by Themselves Charles Q. Choi IEEE Spectrum "Ultimately, the ExoNet researchers want to explore how AI software can transmit commands to exoskeletons so they can perform tasks such as climbing stairs or avoiding obstacles based on a system's analysis of a user's current movements and the upcoming terrain. With autonomous cars as inspiration, they are seeking to develop autonomous exoskeletons that can handle the walking task without human input, Laschowski says." Microsoft Buys AI Speech Tech Company Nuance for $19.7 Billion James Vincent The Verge "The $19.7 billion acquisition of Nuance is Microsoft's second-largest behind its purchase of LinkedIn in 2016 for $26 billion.


Exoskeletons with personalize-your-own settings

Robohub

Leo Medrano, a PhD student in the Neurobionics Lab at the University of Michigan, tests out an ankle exoskeleton on a two-track treadmill. Researchers were able to give the exoskeleton user direct control to tune its behavior, allowing them to find the right torque and timing settings for themselves. To transform human mobility, exoskeletons need to interact seamlessly with their user, providing the right level of assistance at the right time to cooperate with our muscles as we move. To help achieve this, University of Michigan researchers gave users direct control to customize the behavior of an ankle exoskeleton. Not only was the process faster than the conventional approach, in which an expert would decide the settings, but it may have incorporated preferences an expert would have missed.