Peeling a banana may seem like an effortless task for most humans, but it can be quite the challenge for machines. This delicate process entails multiple steps such as holding the fruit, squeezing its tip and peeling away any skin cells. Up until now, robots have not been able to accomplish this type of job efficiently and successfully.
Thankfully, robotic technology has progressed in recent years and now allows machines to perform more intricate tasks with greater accuracy. A robot has even been created that can successfully peel a banana without squashing it.
Researchers from the University of Tokyo have created a robot with two arms equipped with mechanical fingers that it uses to peel bananas. To teach it this skill, the team used deep imitation learning – showing hundreds of human videos and allowing it to learn from them.
After 13 hours of training, the machine learned how to peel bananas with precision that closely resembled human skill levels. It only took three minutes for the entire process to be completed.
According to Reuters, the robot was taught using “deep imitation learning,” which involves repeatedly demonstrating the banana peeling process hundreds of times so it could copy its actions. After being taught this technique, it was able to successfully peel bananas almost 60% of the time.
This project gives insight into the future of robots in manufacturing and food processing, where companies are already employing them for menial tasks like moving metal parts or delivering coffee. With their newfound capacity for handling delicate tasks like peeling bananas, researchers hope to further perfect their technology so it can be applied more widely across factories with labor shortages.
Bananas can be incredibly challenging to peel due to their shape, size and ripeness. Plus, they’re pretty soft – making the task difficult even for experienced robotic hands.
Researchers at the University of Tokyo have created a robot that can precisely peel bananas with two arms equipped with mechanical fingers. It takes just under three minutes for this machine to finish its task, making it an invaluable asset in food processing.
In a video posted on the University of Tokyo website, a robot can be seen peeling a banana. However, this video represents only an example of their experiments; they hope to make the technology more robust in future so it can carry out more complex tasks in industries facing labor shortages.
They also plan to experiment with peeling fruit that is misshapen, such as apples. This would be an important step towards expanding this technology into the market and potentially alleviating Japan’s labor shortage issues.
The University of Tokyo trained the banana peeling robot using “deep imitation learning,” a process similar to how human children learn new skills in school. This method allowed it to mimic various actions and mimic them accurately.