Nerd Talk

Lose Your Keys? There’s a Robot For That

I don't know about you , but I wished many times that I can pick up my phone and call my keys to find where they are hiding.  Well, this could solve our misplacing our keys problem and whatever else we misplaced throughout the day. While it's still a rather large prototype — though cheekily sporting a stick-on mustache — there's a robot at the University of Waterloo that may someday help you find your lost stuff. Researchers at the institution started with a Fetch mobile manipulator robot — essentially a camera-equipped, fridge-sized rolling arm that can map its surroundings and all the objects in it. The scientists explain they've fed it with a special algorithm that allows it to remember where items were in a room, even if they're removed. With the use of a mobile device, the 'bot can be prompted to remember where, say, your keys were and when they left the room. It's the high-tech version of somebody asking you, "Where did you see your keys last?" Except actually helpful. Even better, the robot can spot them hiding in the room if you can't. The researchers say it will someday be an invaluable tool for people with dementia or other memory-clouding conditions."The long-term impact of this is really exciting," said Dr. Ali Ayub, a post-doctoral fellow in electrical and computer engineering at the university. "A user can be involved not just with a companion robot but a personalized companion robot that can give them more independence." And while Ayub says dementia patients might be intimidated by the technology, even with the stick-on 'stache, a caregiver could find such "artificial memory" useful. Maryann Morgan Listen to Joel Katz and Maryann Morgan every weekday morning from 6:00 to 10:00 AM for everything you need to get you workday moving in the right direction.  Joel and Maryann keep you informed with news updates at the top of every hour, traffic and weather three times an hour, and Entertainment Updates at 6:10 AM and 8:10 AM. Check out “What’s Trending” at 7:10 AM and “What Are You Talking About” at 9:10 AM.

More Nerd Talk