Robotic systems controlled by neural network spontaneously develop self-organized behaviors
It is fascinating to observe a robot exploring its physical possibilities and surroundings, and subsequently developing different self-taught behaviors without any instructions.
In their paper (DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1508400112) published on October, 26, 2015 in PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences), Professor Ralf Der from the Max Planck Institute for Mathematics in the Sciences, und Georg Martius, Postdoc and Fellow at the Institute for Science and Technology (IST Austria), demonstrate the emergence of sensorimotor intelligence in robots based on their proposed learning rule.
How brains or artificial neural networks develop autonomous, self-directed behavior is a fundamental challenge for both neuroscience and robotics. Traditionally, the self-organized development of behavior is explained by using concepts such as intrinsic motivation or curiosity.
In their paper, Der and Martius argue however that the emergence of such behavior can be grounded directly in the synaptic plasticity of the nervous system.
To test their hypothesis, the authors use bioinspired robots consisting of a humanoid and a hexapod robot in physically realistic computer simulations. The robots receive sensory input from their bodies but are not given any form of instruction or task. What can then be observed is a rich spectrum of rhythmic behaviors of the robots as they explore various movements.
Solely because of the tight coupling of environment, body, and brain (in this case an artificial neural network), the robots can obtain feedback from their situation and adapt quickly. This, together with a simple, learned self-model, allows them to develop a form of sensorimotor intelligence.
Different scenarios show how they acquire the ability to crawl, walk on changing surfaces, or even cooperate with another robot. The authors explain this phenomenon with the proposed synaptic plasticity, a coupling mechanism that allows a simple neural network to generate constructive movements for almost any given body.
Potentially, this concept can also lead to a new understanding of the early stages of sensorimotor development in the natural world and even be used to elucidate some saltations in evolution.
Georg Martius: "It is commonly assumed that leaps in evolution require mutations in both the morphology and the nervous system, but the probability for both rare events to happen simultaneously is vanishingly low. But if evolution was indeed in line with our rule, it would only require bodily mutations--a much more productive strategy. Imagine an animal just evolving from water to land: Learning how to live on land during its own life time would be very beneficial for its survival."
Stefan Bernhardt | EurekAlert!
Japanese researchers develop ultrathin, highly elastic skin display
19.02.2018 | University of Tokyo
Why bees soared and slime flopped as inspirations for systems engineering
19.02.2018 | Georgia Institute of Technology
For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.
In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...
Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale
Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...
For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.
But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...
Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.
The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...
Theoretical physicists propose to use negative interference to control heat flow in quantum devices. Study published in Physical Review Letters
Quantum computer parts are sensitive and need to be cooled to very low temperatures. Their tiny size makes them particularly susceptible to a temperature...
15.02.2018 | Event News
13.02.2018 | Event News
12.02.2018 | Event News
21.02.2018 | Materials Sciences
21.02.2018 | Health and Medicine
21.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy