Robotic hands help research safe artificial intelligence

Written by: Tom Austin-Morgan | Published:
Image by OpenAI

The Shadow Robot Company, that manufactures robotic hands for grasping and manipulation for real world challenges from fruit picking to bomb disposal, is supplying its Shadow Dexterous Hands to OpenAI, a non-profit company focusing on the path to safe artificial intelligence.

The research is claimed to have created eight newly released environments, four of which using the Shadow Hand robot to solve realistic manipulation tasks. The Shadow Hand is tactile enough to rotate a block and a solid egg and flexible enough to move a pen between its fingers.

Each task has a ‘goal’, such as achieving the desired orientation of a block in the Shadow hand block manipulation task. Along with releasing these new robotics environments, OpenAI is releasing code for Hindsight Experience Replay, a reinforcement learning algorithm that can teach and improve robotic technology to learn from failure. Results from the research – using the hardware supplied by Shadow Robot Company – is publicly available.

“The Shadow Dexterous Hand is the perfect tool for exploring AI as it mimics the human hand, from overall size, to a total of 24 joints, to its range of movement,” said Rich Walker, Managing director of the Shadow Robot Company. “We’re keen to see what other opportunities are out there for us in the AI space.”


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