Human/Robot Cross-Training Touted in MIT Study

"This is the first evidence that human-robot teamwork is improved when a human and robot train together by switching roles, in a manner similar to effective human team training practices," Ph.D. student Stefanos Nikolaidis said.

A paper to be presented at the International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction in Tokyo next month reports cross-training is an effective team-building tool when human beings and robots are working together, MIT News correspondent Helen Knight reports. The research was done by Julie Shah, an assistant professor of aeronautics and astronautics at MIT and head of the Interactive Robotics Group in the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, and Ph.D. student Stefanos Nikolaidis.

"People aren't robots, they don't do things the same way every single time," Shah told Knight. "And so there is a mismatch between the way we program robots to perform tasks in exactly the same way each time and what we need them to do if they are going to work in concert with people."

They wanted to find out whether cross-training, an effective techniques for training people, also can work in mixed teams of humans and robots. This entailed creating a new algorithm so the robots could learn from their role-swapping experiences. "So they modified existing reinforcement-learning algorithms to allow the robots to take in not only information from positive and negative rewards, but also information gained through demonstration. In this way, by watching their human counterparts switch roles to carry out their work, the robots were able to learn how the humans wanted them to perform the same task," Knight reported. Each mixed team then performed a simulated task in a virtual environment, with half of the teams using the conventional interactive reward approach and half using cross-training and switching roles halfway through the session. The teams then did the task in the real world, but this time sticking to their own designated roles.

"Shah and Nikolaidis found that the period in which human and robot were working at the same time — known as concurrent motion — increased by 71 percent in teams that had taken part in cross-training, compared to the interactive reward teams. They also found that the amount of time the humans spent doing nothing — while waiting for the robot to complete a stage of the task, for example — decreased by 41 percent. What's more, when the pair studied the robots themselves, they found that the learning algorithms recorded a much lower level of uncertainty about what their human teammate was likely to do next — a measure known as the entropy level — if they had been through cross-training," according to her Feb. 11 report. "Finally, when responding to a questionnaire after the experiment, human participants in cross-training were far more likely to say the robot had carried out the task according to their preferences than those in the reward-only group, and reported greater levels of trust in their robotic teammate."

"This is the first evidence that human-robot teamwork is improved when a human and robot train together by switching roles, in a manner similar to effective human team training practices," Nikolaidis said.

Download Center

HTML - No Current Item Deck
  • Free Safety Management Software Demo

    IndustrySafe Safety Management Software helps organizations to improve safety by providing a comprehensive toolset of software modules to help businesses identify trouble spots; reduce claims, lost days, OSHA fines; and more.

  • The Top 5 Safety and Technology Trends to Watch in 2019

    Get the latest on trends you can expect to hear more about in 2019, including continued growth of mobile safety applications, wearable technology, and smart PPE; autonomous vehicles; pending OSHA recordkeeping rulemaking; and increased adoption of international safety standard, ISO 45001.

  • Get the Ultimate Guide to OSHA Recordkeeping

    OSHA’s Form 300A posting deadline is February 1! Are you prepared? To help answer your key recordkeeping questions, IndustrySafe put together this guide with critical compliance information.

  • Safety Training 101

    When it comes to safety training, no matter the industry, there are always questions regarding requirements and certifications. We’ve put together a guide on key safety training topics, requirements for certifications, and answers to common training questions.

  • Conduct EHS Inspections and Audits

    Record and manage your organization’s inspection data with IndustrySafe’s Inspections module. IndustrySafe’s pre-built forms and checklists may be used as is, or can be customized to better suit the needs of your organization.

  • Industry Safe

OH&S Digital Edition

  • OHS Magazine Digital Edition - January 2019

    January 2019

    Featuring:

    • PREVENTING ERRORS
      Production vs. Safety 
    • EMERGENCY SHOWERS & EYEWASH
      Meeting the Requirements for Emergency Equipment
    • CONSTRUCTION SAFETY
      The State of Contractor Safety
    • FOOT PROTECTION
      The Three Keys to Effective Chemical Management
    View This Issue