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Robot Learning by Visual Observation by Farrokh Janabi-Sharifi, Aleksandar Vakanski

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1Introduction

Robot programming is the specification of the desired motions of the robot such that it may perform sequences of prestored motions or motions computed as functions of sensory input (Lozano‐Pérez, 1983).

In today’s competitive global economy, shortened life cycles and diversification of the products have pushed the manufacturing industry to adopt more flexible approaches. In the meanwhile, advances in automated flexible manufacturing have made robotic technology an intriguing prospect for small‐ and medium‐sized enterprises (SMEs). However, the complexity of robot programming remains one of the major barriers in adopting robotic technology for SMEs. Moreover, due to the strong competition in the global robot market, historically each of the main robot manufacturers has developed their own proprietary robot software, which further aggravates the matter. As a result, the cost of robotic tasks integration could be many folds of the cost of robot purchase. On the other hand, the applications of robots have gone well beyond the manufacturing to the domains such as household services, where a robot programmer’s intervention would be scarce or even impossible. Interaction with robots is increasingly becoming a part of humans’ daily activities. Therefore, there is an urgent need for new programming paradigms enabling novice users to program and interact with robots. Among the variety of robot programming approaches, programming by demonstration (PbD) holds a great potential ...

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