Starfish Robot Shows Robotic Introspection And Self-Modeling
A new four-legged robot can automatically synthesize a predictive model of its own topology (where and how its body parts are connected), and then successfully move around. It can also use this "proprioceptive" sense to determine if a component has been damaged, and then model new movements that take the damage into account.
(Starfish robot and friends [L->R, Zykov, Bongard, Lipson])
In their article, Josh Bongard, Victor Zykov, and Hod Lipson describe their experiment:
We demonstrate, both computationally and experimentally, how a legged robot automatically synthesizes a predictive model of its own topology (where and how its body parts are connected) through limited yet self-directed interaction with its environment, and then uses this model to synthesize successful new locomotive behavior before and after damage. The legged robot learned how to move forward based on only 16 brief self-directed interactions with its environment. These interactions were unrelated to the task of locomotion, driven only by the objective of disambiguating competing internal models. These findings may help develop more robust robotics, as well as shed light on the relation between curiosity and cognition in animals and humans...
(Starfish robot introspects, modeling itself)
If the robot is damaged, it can sense the problem and attempt to compensate. The robot has tilt and angle sensors in all of its joints; readings from these sensors are used by the robot to create a self-image. If sensors indicate that a part is missing or damaged, it changes its image of itself and moves on.
(Starfish robot top view)
As for sf references, everybody remembers the HAL-9000 unit that ran the spaceship in 2001: A Space Odyssey. HAL was also able to sense problems in the ship and then get one if its servants (the human astronauts) to install new components, if necessary.
Despite their achievement, the researchers remain modest in the face of nature. "We never officially named it, but we usually refer to it as the Starfish robot, even though a real starfish has five rather than four legs," said lead researcher Josh Bongard, now at the University of Vermont. "Also, a real starfish is much better than our robot at recovering from injury, because it can actually regrow its legs."
Update 24-Nov-2006: See a remarkable Starfish robot video.
Take look as some earlier work by Lipson and Zykov et al in this article - Self-Replicating Modular Robots. More materials here, including a video, as well as here.| Thanks to an anonymous reader who suggested this article.
Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 11/17/2006)
Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.
| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |
you like to contribute a story tip?
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add
Comment/Join discussion ( 4 )
Related News Stories -
X125 Snake-Arm Inspection Robot Video
'... long, flexible, glittering tentacles...' - HG Wells, 1898.
FORTIS Exoskeleton Not Quite Ripley's Alien-Fighting Exoskeleton
'Earth's scientists solved the problem to some extent by devising rigid metallic clothing...' - Edmond Hamilton, 1932.
Kirobo Mini - Your Dashboard Droid
No protocol droid needed for translation!
3D Printed Soft Robotic Tentacle May Grab You
'Monique's tissues had at least three other basic attractor modes as well...' - Rudy Rucker, 1997.
Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!)
is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for
the Invention Category that interests
you, the Glossary, the Invention
Timeline, or see what's New.
Algorithm Predicts Marriage Success (HAL 9000 Will See You Now)
'I can tell from your voice harmonics, Dave, that you're badly upset....'
Denmark Island Earth (Verdenskortet ala Ringworld)
'They wanted to keep something of what they were losing...'
Humai Startup To Implant Your Brain In Robot Body
'The astounded onlookers saw a human brain snugly encased in a transparent skull-shaped receptacle.'
Blue Origin Reusable Rocket's Vertical Landing
We're getting there, one launch at a time.
X125 Snake-Arm Inspection Robot Video
'... long, flexible, glittering tentacles...'
Super-Thin Smart Glazing Displays
'...a wide sheet of clear material suddenly flared with light and swirling color.'
Have Scientists Found A Parallel Universe Leaking Into Ours
'Ellis had found a weak point, a shimmer, at which another continuum completely had been visible.'
Active Wellness Smart Car Seat
'Maybe the car was right...'
Tech Tats Prototype Sfnal Devices
'...Permanently fixed in the centre of his forehead.'
ANNABELL AI Can Learn English From Scratch
'...Could understand not only classic programming but also Loglan and English..."
Tesla Suit Gives Haptic Hugs
'Then a pressure on the lips...'
Surgically Implantable Artificial Kidney Starts Testing
'George Walt... proved the workability of wholly mechanical organs...'
Self-Filling Water Bottle Is Beetle-Based
'That moisture trickles down...'
Senate Passes Space Mining Legislation
'The law of filing on newly discovered asteroids was definite...'
Microsoft's Surface Book Is Part Clipboard
'Floyd sometimes wondered if the Newspad, and the fantastic technology behind it, was the last word in man's quest for perfect communications...'
Police Use Predictive Maps ala 'Minority Report' Routinely
'...the data-receptors, and the computing mechanisms that studied and restructured the incoming material.'
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories