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AI-powered Watch-Bot reminds you to turn off the TV

Watch-Bot learns your household routine and reminds you when you've forgotten to put the milk away or turn the TV off.

Cornell University/Stanford University

You can set yourself reminders to run errands and attend appointments using a variety of digital apps and tools, but small things like turning off lights or taking out the garbage aren't the sort of tasks one thinks to put in a calendar. This is where Watch-Bot, developed by researchers at Cornell and Stanford, comes in.

The robot uses a Kinect sensor and a camera that can pan and tilt "sense" the area around it, IEEE reports. It was then trained by filming 458 videos people going about their normal business in a kitchen and an office, and figuring out on its own using machine learning when people forgot to do things, such as put the milk away. It then used a laser pointer to highlight the forgotten object as a reminder. During testing, it was accurate 60 percent of the time, reminding humans to put a book away or turn off a monitor, among other tasks.

It's expected that, as the robot spends more time observing humans, its accuracy will improve. The team will be using Cornell's Robo Watch program to train it using YouTube videos.