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Robots Test "Embodied Intelligence" 57

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the quagmire-needs-to-respond-oh-right dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Here's an interesting article about a robotics experiments designed to test the benefits of coupling visual information to physical movement. This approach, known as embodied cognition, supposes that biological intelligence emerges through interactions between organisms and their environment. Olaf Sporns from Indiana University and Max Lungarella from Tokyo University believe strengthening this connection in robots could make them smarter and more intuitive."
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Robots Test "Embodied Intelligence"

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  • Forward models (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 30, 2006 @06:31PM (#16649891)
    Olaf Sporns and Max Lungarella are well-known in this field, however roboticists and others have been looking at the effect of movement on sensory feedback for a while. I remember Rodney Cotterill in his 'enchanted looms' book saying that it was useful to reverse the usual 'sense -> plan -> act' formula to 'act -> expect -> sense' (or something similar). Researchers like Daniel Wolpert, Mitsuo Kawato and particularly Yiannis Demiris use 'Forward models' in robots, cognitive building blocks that take current state (of world & robot) and motor command as input and produce a prediction of the expected resultant state or sensory feedback. These can be used to 'simulate' or 'demo' possible actions mentally before deciding the right one to execute. I know Anthony Dearden has done some work on learning the causal relationship between motor action and sensory feedback that underpins these forward models, using Bayesian networks in robots. A few researchers (e.g. Rick Grush) think that the learning of these motor-vision causal relationships and their use in mental simulations may underpin mental imagery and possibly the observed activity of the 'canonical' and 'mirror' neurons (discovered by Giacomo Rizzolatti and his team) that seem to tie visual perception to the motor system. Germund Hesslow has a theory that simulation of perception and action gives rise to conscious thought. And there are many others.

    The field is becoming more interesting than ever, thanks to the advances in robot hardware, and the collaboration of philosophers of mind and neuroscientists with roboticists to construct new cognitive architectures.

  • babybot (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mennucc1 (568756) <d3@tonelli.sns.it> on Tuesday October 31, 2006 @05:15AM (#16654865) Homepage Journal
    a similar project is babybot [unige.it]. Short extract: Our scientific goal is that of uncovering the mechanisms of the functioning of the brain by building physical models of the neural control and cognitive structures. In our intendment physical model are embodied artificial systems that freely interact in a not too unconstrained environment. Also, our approach derives from studies of human sensorimotor and cognitive development with the aim of investigating if a developmental approach to building intelligent systems may offer new insight on aspects of human behavior and new tools for the implementation of complex, artificial systems. (BTW: that project has been around since 2000.... )

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