Robot Online Learning to Lift Weights: A Way to Expose Students to Robotics and Intelligent Technologies


  • Igor M. Verner Technion - Israel Institute of Technology
  • Dan Cuperman Technion – Israel Institute of Technology
  • Michael Reitman PTC Inc., Israel Division



robot learning, weightlifting, digital twin, internet of things


During interaction with learning robots the students are often faced with the challenge of understanding the robot intent and its practical realization. To answer this challenge, we propose a connected environment which integrates the robot, its digital twin and virtual sensors. We implemented a reinforcement learning scenario in which a humanoid robot learns to lift a weight of unknown mass through autonomous trial-and-error search. To expedite the process, trials of the physical robot are substituted by simulations with its digital twin. The optimal parameters of the robot posture for executing the weightlifting task, found by analysis of the virtual trials, are transmitted to the robot through internet communication. The approach exposes students to the concepts and technologies of machine learning, parametric design, digital prototyping and simulation, connectivity and internet of things. Pilot implementation of the approach indicates its potential for teaching freshman and HS students, and for teacher education.

Author Biographies

Igor M. Verner, Technion - Israel Institute of Technology

Associate Professor, Department of Education in Technology and Science

Dan Cuperman, Technion – Israel Institute of Technology

Dan Cuperman  is Research Associate in the Department of Education in Science and Technology at the Technion—Israel Institute of Technology. He is Director of the Technion Center for Robotics and Digital Technology Education.

Michael Reitman, PTC Inc., Israel Division

Michael Reitman is VP of Engineering and R&D at PTC Inc. His professional responsibilities include development and delivery of engineering software as part of PTC Creo product family, and research projects related to new technologies combining CAD with IoT and AR.




How to Cite

Verner, I. M., Cuperman, D., & Reitman, M. (2017). Robot Online Learning to Lift Weights: A Way to Expose Students to Robotics and Intelligent Technologies. International Journal of Online and Biomedical Engineering (iJOE), 13(08), pp. 174–182.



Short Papers