Neuro-robotics as a tool to understand the brain
Do you want to understand the neuronal substrate of animals by building robots and programming them using neuronal principles? Do you want to understand how learning happens in the brain? By understanding the simplest animals in terms of its neuronal organization, in this course we will use mobile 3D printed robots to learn how to build complex behaviors that are not just reactive responses to a stimulus but that include learning and memory as well.
To understand brains we need to start from the simplest animals: take for example the worm C-Elegans with only 350 neurons, able to look for food, remember food locations and mate. Brains originally evolved for movement: consider as an example phototaxis, the movement away or towards a stimulus or light that can be easily implemented with a robot by directly connecting sensors and motors. These behaviors are considered to be reactive and a direct mapping from sensors to actuation.
In this course we will use mobile 3D printed robots to address how we can build up complex behaviors introducing learning and memory into play. You will be able to add more complex layers of behavior following the structure of the Distributed Adaptive Control (DAC, biologically based control Architecture developed at SPECS). The brain architecture DAC assumes that behavior is organized in layers from reactive, to adaptive (simplest learning) and contextual (including memory and learning).
Using robots, and by following the structure of a neuro-biological control strategy based on DAC, you will learn how to implement a series of increasingly complex tasks such as a foraging task… your robot will be able to search for food like animals do!
Joining this project, you will experience how to build new behaving artefacts using state of art technology and knowledge in neuroscience, robotics and artificial intelligent, really embedded in a transdisciplinary environment.
Biology, mathematics, physics, computer sciences, robotics, artificial interlligence
Laptop, cell phone (preferably Android)