The UC Berkeley Laboratory for Automation Science and Engineering (AUTOLAB) was featured in the New York Times today for its research on robotic grasping. The article featured AUTOLAB's Dex-Net robot which can pick up and sort objects that it has never encountered before using machine learning and neural network algorithms.
"What you really want is a robot that can pick up anything, even stuff it has never seen before. That is what Autolab researchers have built over the last few years... The system benefits from dramatic advances in machine learning. The Berkeley researchers modeled the physics of more than 10,000 objects, identifying the best way to pick up each one. Then, using an algorithm called a neural network, the system analyzed all this data, learning to recognize the best way to pick up any item. In the past, researchers had to program a robot to perform each task. Now it can learn these tasks on its own."