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Teaching robots through positive reinforcement

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There likely isn’t a robotics teacher institute in the world actively pursuing robotic learning. The field, after all, holds the key to unlocking a lot of potential for the industry. One of the things that makes it so remarkable is the myriad different approaches so many researchers are taking to unlock the secrets of helping robots essentially learn from scratch.

A new paper from Johns Hopkins University sporting the admittedly delightful name “Good Robot” explores the potential of learning through positive reinforcement. The title derives from an anecdote from author Andrew Hundt about teaching his dog to not chase after squirrels. I won’t go into that here — you can just watch this video instead:

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But the core of the idea is to offer the robot some manner of incentive when it gets something correct, rather than a disincentive when it does something wrong. For robots, incentives come in the form of a scoring system — essentially a kind of gamification that rewards a number of points based on correctly executing a task.

The PhD candidate says the method was able to reduce the training time of a task significantly. “The robot wants the higher score,” Hundt said in a release tied to the research. “It quickly learns the right behavior to get the best reward. In fact, it used to take a month of practice for the robot to achieve 100% accuracy. We were able to do it in two days.”

The tasks are still quite elementary, including stacking bricks and navigating through a video game, but there’s hope that future robots will be able to work up to more complex and useful real-world tasks.

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Charge Your Phone Wirelessly With 50% off a Multifunctional LED Lamp

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Best Tech DealsBest Tech DealsThe best tech deals from around the web, updated daily.

White Wireless Charge Lamp | $18 | Amazon | Clip coupon + code ABC88699
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When you’re ready to turn in for the night, you don’t want to forget to charge your phone— especially if your mobile device doubles as your alarm clock.

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Don’t sleep on this deal! Who knows how long stock or the coupon code will last?

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Keep That Hotdish Hot With 65% Off a Luncia Casserole Carrier, Only $11 With Promo Code

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Best Home DealsBest Home DealsThe best home, kitchen, smart home, and automotive deals from around the web, updated daily.

Luncia Double-Decker Dish Carrier | $11 | Amazon | Promo code SDDU9S7F

It has been a long time since the days we could safely have a potluck or other gatherings, but we have a fantastic deal perfect for once those times return. These double-decker Luncia dish carriers can be had for 65% off when you add promo code SDDU9S7F at checkout and clip the coupon on the site (it’s just below the price). These holders fit 9″x 13″ sized baking dishes.

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That means you can insulate and keep two dishes of food warm for only $11 instead of $30. What’s more, your Luncia carrier will arrive by Christmas if you order today as a Prime member.

Just add promo code SDDU9S7F and clip the 5% off coupon to bring the price down to $11 for the blue or the grey option.

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Grab this offer while it’s still around!


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Conquer Your Pup’s Dander and Fur With $700 Off a Cobalt or Charcoal Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum

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Best Home DealsBest Home DealsThe best home, kitchen, smart home, and automotive deals from around the web, updated daily.

Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum & Mop (Cobalt) | $200 | Best Buy

Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum & Mop (Charcoal) | $200 | Best Buy

Allergies can be bad enough as the seasons change. Don’t let pet hair and dander add to that by vacuuming it up early and often. That chore is easier said than done— unless you have a robot vacuum to do the work for you. This lovely bright cobalt Bobsweep PetHair Plus robot vacuum and mop, only $200 today at Best Buy seems like an ideal option. That’s a whopping $700 off, by the way.

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You can get the same deal for the charcoal version of the robot vac, too. This model is not only specially made for picking up pet hair, it self docks and charges when it’s finished with the work.

It also comes with a mop attachment, so it can take care of those kitchen floors for you as well. Grab it while it’s still available for this fantastic price!

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