BRETT: Deep-learning robot

Berkeley Engineering 150Meet BRETT, the robot that put some spunk into laundry. You may already know this Berkeley Robot for the Elimination of Tedious Tasks, who first rose to YouTube fame in 2010 while folding towels. A member of electrical engineering and computer sciences professor Pieter Abbeel’s lab, BRETT showed that robots could learn to complete tasks that require advanced perception and manipulation. BRETT has advanced beyond towels to successfully master a variety of tasks — such as assembling a toy airplane and solving a shape-sorting puzzle — in situations it’s never seen before, entering into an area of artificial intelligence known as “deep learning,” or what we call trial and error.

The ultimate goal is to create BRETT-inspired helper robots that not only learn how to perform assigned tasks but are capable of coping with changing situations and unscripted moments. Who knows? It might not be long before a BRETT-type robot comes to a laundromat near you.