After strategy games such as chess and Go, robots are now also learning to play skill games. To tackle of the game Jenga, a tower of wooden blocks needs to be modified, provided scientists a robot arm with the sensitive touch sensors.

such A robot could perform tasks in which skill is in demand, writes the Team led by Nima Fazeli from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (mit) in Cambridge, in the journal “Science of Robotics”.

“to conclude through buttons in the animal Kingdom is ubiquitous, but in the robot handling under-developed,” write the researchers. This information conveyed by the tactile sense could be, in the industry.

“In a production line for mobile phones come in almost every step of the impression of a snap closure or a screw with more power and touch than by sight,” explains co-author Alberto Rodriguez.

Good game the result after 300 Try

The researchers combined camera shots with the touch sensors and dined with these data, an artificial neural network. To shorten the learning time, was specified to the robot that it should adopt procedures with the same or a similar result – for example, the Collapse of the Jenga-tower – in clusters together.

In this way, the robot had a steeper learning curve than with other methods, and it only took about 300 Attempts, instead of tens of thousands to achieve a good game result.

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Initially, the learning behavior of the robot was simulated. Then the Play was followed by cubes with real Jenga. When the robot arm began the Play, he tested randomly selected wooden building blocks. He moved about a Millimeter and evaluated them according to categories such as “easy to move”, “move” and “not to move”. Depending on the assessment, he continued his efforts to remove the block – or not.

acquired skills to explore

Removed components are placed at Jenga at the top of the tower. The robot managed to after a short learning time, to remove 21 or more blocks and to place new, without the tower tipped.

“We have seen how many blocks could pull a man out before the tower fell, and the difference was not so great,” says Miquel Oller, another author of the study.

the aim of the researcher is not there but in the end, to make the robot an unbeatable Jenga master. You want to explore with the combination of visual and ertasteten data gained skills.


Sam Yoon has many years of experiences in journalism. He has covered such areas as information technology, science, sports and politics. Yoon can be reached at 82-2-6956-6698.