The new laboratory assistant independently conducts experiments and makes discoveries
Researchers have created an autonomous robot that conducts its own chemical experiments, and has already discovered a new catalyst.
With a mass of 400 kg and a height of 1.75 m, the developed robot laboratory assistant has good mobility, can work for 21.5 hours a day (stopping only to charge the battery), think in 10 dimensions, perform a wide range of tasks, and also has unlimited patience.
Through physical grip and the laser scanning system, it is able to independently move around the laboratory and interact with equipment intended for humans.
The robot’s brain uses a search algorithm to navigate 10-dimensional space, choosing the best experiments each time from 98 million possible alternatives.
In the first 172 hours of work, he carried out 688 experiments, having performed 6.5 manipulations and covered a total of 2.17 km. During this time, he autonomously discovered a new catalyst that is six times more active.
A team of scientists from the University of Liverpool considers the robot to be a member of the team, and not just another machine to help them, since it acts on its own and makes far fewer mistakes than humans..
The level of autonomy of robotics can increase not only by improving their algorithms, but also by new ways of feeding. For example, technology has recently been developed that allows robots «eat» metal for energy.
text: Ilya Bauer, photo and video: University of Liverpool