Autonomous Rock Balancing Robot Can Make Stacked Rock Sculptures

June 6, 2017


This is a video of the autonomous rock-stacking robot developed by researchers at ETH Zurich university in Switzerland. It can pick up rocks and stack them to make rock balancing sculptures. Not very good ones, mind you, but if there's one thing robots suck at, it's being one with nature.

We show how to form stable compositions with these objects. We present a next best stacking pose searching method in a Stochastic Gradient Descent (SGD) manner, implemented using a physics engine. We show the results of eleven consecutive trials to form such towers autonomously using four arbitrarily placed rocks.

Okay that made no sense to me, but I also don't speak robot. Basically there will come a time when you're taking a hike along a creek and see a rock-balancing sculpture and you won't be able to tell who made it: some nature-loving hippy, or a robot. And that's a scary thought, like getting a tick on your wiener like my buddy [REDACTED] did two weekends ago during a hike.

Keep going for the video.

Thanks to Jeff, who agrees the best rock sculptures are granite ones that have been carved into graceful nudes.

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