For Robot Elephants: Robitic Elephant Trunks

trunkDo robotic elephants get the jimmy-trunk when they’re falling asleep? My wife still complains about one time I kicked here while sleeping, two years ago, I guess my jimmy-legs are unacceptable but it’s fine when she kicks me in the shins every night.

Researchers in Jochen Steil’s lab in Germany are training their robotic elephant’s trunk to perform simple tasks. Things like picking up bottles, changing light bulbs, killing all humans, and shaking hands. Their goal is to create a robot that can be trained more than creating a program to tell their trunk to do whatever you want it to. Sounds like teaching a machine to think to me.

What I would like to know is why did they give the trunk an evil, stabby grasper. There are so many other ways to pick things up than with the point of a harpoon, why not go with one of those?

Hit the jump for a video.