Robotic Elephant Trunk Learns Like A Baby

A robotic arm modelled on an elephant's trunk that learns like a baby has been created by a German engineering company.

The arm uses a process of trial and error learning called "goal babbling" similar to how babies learn to use their muscles.

Jochen Steil, an engineer at Bielefeld University, said: "As I move the bionic trunk in Steil’s lab into different positions it initially resists, but then yields and follows my movement.

"The next time I try to push it to the same spot, it moves easily, because the behaviour has been learned. The robot now has muscle memory — which makes it seem even more alive."

Despite the impressive learning capability of the device, this particular incarnation will have little use in the real world as it requires an expert to program it.

It is however, a step in the direction of a new generation robotics - one that is eerily similar to those seen in 'The Matrix', and we all know how that turned out...