- Designed by German engineer to help with welding
- Uses webcam to monitor movements, and complex algorithms to predict what people will do next
By Daniel Bates
PUBLISHED: 10:08 EST, 9 August 2012 | UPDATED: 10:08 EST, 9 August 2012
German designer Christian Fiebig created Computer Augmented Crafts to assist with his welding by closely watching his movements with a webcam.
The data is fed into an algorithm which makes an ‘educated guess’ about what he will do next.
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It then suggests what the shape of the next piece of metal should be and how long it should be cut.
Whilst it is up to the designer whether or not they follow the advice, the development is the latest startling example of how advanced artificial intelligence has become.
Fiebig, who is studying at the Design Academy Eindhoven in the Netherlands, told Fast Company: ‘I designed a computer interface that actually makes suggestions to the designer while he’s working.
‘Ideally it will enable the designer to create something nor him or the computer itself could have come up with.
‘We shouldn’t be afraid of using technology to enhance traditional handiwork.’
The webcam on the machine records each cutting, measuring and notes the length of each piece of metal that Fiebig manipulates during his spot welding.
He hopes that instead of being something sinister it will give designers another voice which they can decide to collaborate with or simply ignore.
He has published the details on the Internet as an open source code to encourage others to improve the software.
Computer intelligence has accelerated in recent years – machines have beaten humans at chess and in one test were also able to feel ‘regret’.
By understanding the difference between the desired outcome and the reality the machines are supposedly able to learn the ‘emotion’ and work out how to minimise it.
Microsoft has developed ‘Milo’, the world’s first real virtual character who is convincing enough to be considered ‘human’.
And Japanese researchers have developed a robot that can perform functions it was not programmed to do, with the hope that it will learn just like a child does.
Fiebig’s invention was unveiled at The Machine, a group show in Genk, Belgium.
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