Posted on: October 14th, 2013 by

What if a computer could actually learn… like a human brain.  Qualcomm has been researching a developing a computer that can do just that.  This new type of computer is actually modeled after a human brain and is able to learn new things and react to inputs and can do it without human control.

qualcomm thinking robot

A small wheeled robot was shown by Qualcomm that could seek out certain color tiles on a large floor and then when it reached a tile, it would be given a “reward” signal.  It then would realize the white tiles are good, and continue to roll around and seek out other white tiles.

Though this type of technology isn’t anywhere close to an actual human brain and thought pattern, it is a step in that direction.  They are calling these chips “Qualcomm Zeroth Processors and they are categorized as NPUs (Neural Processing Units).  They have developed a suite of software tools that they are using (like the little wheeled robot) to teach these little machines good and bad “behavior”, but without any detailed programming about the behavior beforehand.

Here is the video of the demonstration by Qualcomm:

Now that little robot is pretty good so far.  What steps can they take to bring this to the next level? Seems like a really interesting concept but let’s be fair, Qualcomm isn’t the only technology company that is researched and developing a computer system that is more “brain like” than we have ever seen.

Companies like IBM are creating their own “thinking robots” and are working on a current project called SyNAPSE that can relate to ideas and objects rather that specified programming features.

As we take another step in robots and computers, we can at least get a glimpse of how useful these new steps are going to be.  From simple home robots that can complete useful tasks to military designed robots to add even more human saving technology on the battlefield.

If you recall, there was an article about a thinking robot in 2011 as well.

When you think about it, the creation of these computer chips and robots is a huge step toward the evolution of computers as we know it.