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A technique allows robots to determine whether they are able to lift a heavy box

Humanoid robots, those with bodies that resemble humans, could soon help people to complete a wide variety of tasks. Many of the tasks that these robots are designed to complete involve picking up objects of different shapes, weights and sizes.

While many humanoid robots developed up to date are capable of picking up small and light objects, lifting bulky or heavy objects has often proved to be more challenging. In fact, if an object is too large or heavy, a robot might end up breaking or dropping it.

With this in mind, researchers at Johns Hopkins University and National University of Singapore (NUS) recently developed a technique that allows robots to determine whether or not they will be able to lift a heavy box with unknown physical properties. This technique, presented in a paper pre-published on arXiv, could enable the development of robots that can lift objects more efficiently, reducing the risk that they will pick up things that they cannot support or carry.

"We were particularly interested in how a humanoid robot can reason about the feasibility of lifting a box with unknown physical parameters," Yuanfeng Han, one of the researchers who carried out the study, told TechXplore."To achieve such a complex task, the robot usually needs to first identify the physical parameters of the box, then generate a whole body motion trajectory that is safe and stable to lift up the box."

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