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Insect diet offers squirming sustainability

Camren Brantley-Rios, a senior at Auburn University, has challenged himself to incorporate insects into his meals three times a day for 30 days. 

By Sports & Health Reporter

February 16, 2015

From juicing to gluten-free labels, the health world has played host to its fair share of hype in recent years. However, one Auburn University senior is pioneering a new health-based challenge: Camren ...

Cooking robot may offer artificial culinary intelligence

By Sports & Health Editor

January 26, 2015

One of the greatest questions in developing of artificial intelligence is how to provide robots with a software template that enables them to recognize objects and learn actions by watching humans. Researchers from the University of Maryland Institute for Advanced Computer Studies and the National Information Communications Technology Research Centre of Excellence in Australia have developed a software system that allows robots to learn actions and make inferences by watching cooking videos from YouTube.“It’s very difficult [to teach robots] actions where something is manipulated because there’s a lot of variation in the way the action happens,” said co-author Cornelia Fermüller, a research scientist at the University of Maryland’s Institute for Advanced Computer Studies. “If I do it or someone else does it, we do it very differently. We could use different tools so you have to find a way of capturing this variation. ”The intelligent system that enabled the robot to glean information from the videos includes two artificial neural networks that mimic the human eye’s processing resulting in object recognition, according to the study. The networks enabled the robot to recognize objects it viewed in the videos and determine the type of grasp required to manipulate objects such as knives and tomatoes when chopping, dicing and preparing food. “In addition to [accounting for variation] there is the difficulty involved in capturing it visually,” Fermüller said. “We’ve looked at the goal of the task and then decomposed it on the basis of that.”Fermüller said the group classified the two types of grasping the robot performed as “power” versus “precision.” Broadly, power grasping is used when an object needs to be held firmly in order to apply force—like when holding a knife to make a cut. Holding a tomato in place to stabilize it is considered precision grasping—a more fine-grain action that calls for accuracy, according to the paper. When observing human activity in real life, robotic systems are able to perceive the movements and objects they are designed to recognize in three dimensions over time, Fermüller said. However, when the movement and objects are viewed in a video, that information is not as immediately understood. “The way we think of videos is as a three-dimensional entity in the sense that there are two dimensions of space and one dimension of time,” said Jason Corso, an associate professor of electrical engineering and computer science at the University of Michigan. “It’s not as 3D as the world we live in, but one can use a video … which is a spacetime signal, and from it correspond feature points that could be used to reconstruct the 3D environment that is being seen or imaged in that video.”According to the paper, the development of deep neural networks that are able to efficiently capture raw data from video and enable robots to perceive actions and objects have revolutionized how visual recognition in artificially intelligent systems function. The algorithms programmed into the University of Maryland’s cooking robot are one example of this neural functioning.“So what was used here was really the hand description and object tool description, and then the action was inferred out of that,” Fermüller said. Previous research on robotic manipulation and action recognition has been conducted using hand trackers and motion capture gloves to overcome the inherent limitations of trying to design artificial intelligence that can learn by example, she said. “Part of the problem is that robot hands today are so behind what biological manipulation is capable of,” said Ken Forbus, a professor of computer science and education at Northwestern University. “We have more dynamic range in terms of our touch sensing. It’s very, very difficult to calibrate, as there’s all sorts of problems that might be real problems and any system is going to have to solve them.”Forbus said some of the difficulty that presents itself in robotic design arises from the fact that the tools robots are outfitted with are far behind the ones humans are born with both physically and in terms of sense perception.“There is tons of tacit knowledge in human understanding—tons,” Forbus said. “Not just in manipulation, [but] in conceptual knowledge.”According to Forbus, artificial intelligence researchers have three ways to incorporate this type of conceptual thinking into intelligent systems. The first option is to try to design robots that can think and analyze in a manner superior to humans, and the second is articulating the tacit knowledge that humans possess by trying to boil it down into a programmable set of rules. The third way is to attempt to model the AI on the type of analogical thinking humans use as they discern information and make generalizations that help provide a framework for how to act during future experiences. “That’s a model that’s daunting in the sense that it requires lots and lots of [programmed] experience,” Forbus said. “But it’s promising in that if we can make analogical generalization work in scale … it’s going to be a very human-like way of doing it.”

Antibiotic Discoveries

Researchers unearth new bacteria-resistant antibiotic

January 26, 2015

Scientists have searched for ways to combat antibiotic-resistant bacteria for nearly 30 years, but it turns out the answer may have been under their feet the entire time. Researchers from Northeastern ...

Risky drinking habits prevalent among young adults

Binge Drinking

By Assistant Sports & Health Editor

December 8, 2014

It is common for young adults to first experiment with alcohol in their college years, but given the stresses that come with the transition to college and their newfound freedom, those students are at risk o...

Graphic artist compares average male body shape across countries

Average

By Assistant Sports & Health Editor

December 1, 2014

The average body mass index of the American male aged 30–39 is 28.6, nearly one point away from the medical qualification of being obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Na...

Victoria’s Secret should empower, not insult women

By Opinions Editor

November 24, 2014

The Internet went into an uproar in late October when Victoria’s Secret unveiled its “Perfect Body” campaign to the world.The initial advertisement seemed fairly typical: a display of half-naked, very thin models in sultry poses. But what made it different and what enraged many people was the phrase “The Perfect Body” splattered across it.A Change.org petition created by three women in England circulated soon aft...

Chlamydia

Chlamydia infection most common among young people, women

November 17, 2014

According to the Sept. 26 edition of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, an estimated 1.8 million people in the U.S. have chlamydia, with females a...

Colleges could improve counseling

By Editorial Board

November 10, 2014

As the number of young adults enrolling in higher education continues to rise, the need for colleges to provide adequate services for students with mental illness has increased.Like most institutions, Columbia offers various forms of counseling to its students. The office of Counseling Services provides them with a maximum of 10 free individual sessions per academic year and an unlimited number of group therapy sessions. Al...

South Side skating and bowling rink celebrates Breast Cancer Awareness Month

South Side skating and bowling rink celebrates Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October 13, 2014

In the South Side neighborhood of Englewood, women and their daughters attended the Oct. 8 Save Our Girls event at the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Park & Family Entertainment Center, 1219 W. 76th St....

Media spread Ebola hysteria

By Editorial Board

October 13, 2014

Dominating headlines and spurring 24-hour coverage on news channels, the Ebola virus is infecting the minds of Americans despite assurances from White House officials that the illness will not spread to the U.S.As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention continue their efforts to mitigate a potential U.S. outbreak, media outlets are reporting developments with undue urgency even though the first Ebola death on U.S. ...

Pediatric medicine's damaging oversight

Pediatric medicine’s damaging oversight

October 13, 2014

In 1889, pediatric surgeon William Hill was removing the tonsils from children with obstructed airways to alleviate their struggles with breathing when he noticed unforeseen side effects of the procedure. T...

South Side remodeling baseball, softball fields

By Assistant Metro Editor

September 15, 2014

Mayor Rahm Emanuel, the Chicago Park District and two Chicago aldermen have come up with a plan to invest millions of dollars into restoring and enhancing baseball parks on the South Side.On Sept. 4, Emanuel, Ald. Anthony Beale (9th Ward), Ald. Carrie Austin (34th Ward) and Chicago Park District General Superintendent Michael Kelly announced the city will invest $6.5 million in the program that seek to make baseball and so...

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