Google has teamed up with researchers from Princeton, Columbia and MIT to create TossingBot, which can learn how to pick up and toss various objects into the right containers on its own. During its first rodeo, the mechanical arm didn't know what to do with the pile of objects it was presented with. After 14 hours of trial and error and analyzing them with its overhead cameras, it was finally able to toss the right item into the right container 85 percent of the time.
As the tech giant explains, programming a robot to properly grasp and toss specific objects -- a screwdriver, for instance, could land in different ways, based on where you hold it -- is incredibly difficult. By using machine learning, the robot will teach itself from experience instead, as well as adapt to new scenarios and learn on the fly. That's the kind of machine that would be useful in warehouses and distribution centers, such as Amazon's or UPS'.