Robot learns to flip pancakes

The video shows a Barrett WAM 7 DOFs manipulator learning to flip pancakes by reinforcement learning.
The motion is encoded in a mixture of basis force fields through an extension of Dynamic Movement Primitives (DMP) that represents the synergies across the different variables through stiffness matrices. An Inverse Dynamics controller with variable stiffness is used for reproduction.

The skill is first demonstrated via kinesthetic teaching, and then refined by Policy learning by Weighting Exploration with the Returns (PoWER) algorithm. After 50 trials, the robot learns that the first part of the task requires a stiff behavior to throw the pancake in the air, while the second part requires the hand to be compliant in order to catch the pancake without having it bounced off the pan.

Video credits:
Dr. Petar Kormushev
Dr. Sylvain Calinon
(Advanced Robotics Dept., Italian Institute of Technology)

Links to authors webpages:

Link to publication:

Link to publication on PoWER algorithm by Jens Kober and Jan Peters:

Duration : 0:1:39

[youtube W_gxLKSsSIE]

25 thoughts on “Robot learns to flip pancakes

  1. I don’t know about …
    I don’t know about world domination, but maybe comedians should be worried this is the funniest thing I ever saw……this week anyway.

  2. The first half of …
    The first half of this is hilarious. When it flipped a pancake over the arm and onto the table behind it I nearly shat with laughter.

  3. @WhimsicalUnited no …
    @WhimsicalUnited no, Skynet got started because humans gave control over the nation’s entire nuclear arsenal to a gigantic computer –and let it make the decision, on its own, about where and when those nukes would be used.
    This sort of thing is not Skynet, fool.

  4. @TheDirekChew When …
    @TheDirekChew When you lose for arm in some freak accident 20 years from now, you’re gonna be grateful they started working on junk like this so that your new cybernetic arm could become a reality.

  5. The point of the …
    The point of the experiment was for the robot to develop an artificial intelligence through experimentation, which is rather exciting once you think about it.

  6. For some reason, I …
    For some reason, I think it was really cute when It failed. 😀

  7. @TheDirekChew and …
    @TheDirekChew and don’t forget that these are artificial pancakes , you can’t even eat them

  8. Am I the only one …
    Am I the only one who finds it strangely funny to watch the robot fail?

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