Artificial brains for robots?

Artificial brains for robots?

Summary: An international team of European researchers has implanted an artificial cerebellum -- the portion of the brain that controls motor functions -- inside a robotic system. This EU-funded project is dubbed SENSOPAC, an acronym for 'SENSOrimotor structuring of perception and action for emerging cognition.' One of the goals of this project is to design robots able to interact with humans in a natural way. This project, which should be completed at the end of 2009, also wants to produce robots which would act as home-helpers for disabled people, such as persons affected by neurological disorders, such as Parkinson's disease.

SHARE:
TOPICS: Emerging Tech
3

An international team of European researchers has implanted an artificial cerebellum -- the portion of the brain that controls motor functions -- inside a robotic system. This EU-funded project is dubbed SENSOPAC, an acronym for 'SENSOrimotor structuring of perception and action for emerging cognition.' One of the goals of this project is to design robots able to interact with humans in a natural way. This project, which should be completed at the end of 2009, also wants to produce robots which would act as home-helpers for disabled people, such as persons affected by neurological disorders, such as Parkinson's disease.

How a SENSOPAC robotic system will learn

You can see above how a SENSOPAC robotic system with an artificial brain will learn (Credit: SENSOPAC flyer (PDF format, 2 pages, 520 KB). The European SENSOPAC project started on January 1, 2006 and will take 4 years to be completed. The 12 organizations participating to the project come from 9 different countries and have provided physicists, neuroscientists and electronic engineers.

The microchips which incorporate a full neuronal system have been designed at the University of Granada, Spain. "Implanting the man-made cerebellum in a robot will allow it to manipulate and interact with other objects with far greater effectiveness than previously managed. 'Although robots are increasingly more important to our society and have more advanced technology, they cannot yet do certain tasks like those carried out by mammals,' says Professor Eduardo Ros Vidal, who is coordinating the work at the University of Granada. 'We have been talking about humanoids for years but we do not yet see them on the street or use the unlimited possibilities they offer us,' the Professor added."

The SENSOPAC website gives more details about the project. "The SENSOPAC project will combine machine learning techniques and modelling of biological systems to develop a machine capable of abstracting cognitive notions from sensorimotor relationships during interactions with its environment, and of generalising this knowledge to novel situations. Through active sensing and exploratory actions the machine will discover the sensorimotor relationships and consequently learn the intrinsic structure of its interactions with the world and unravel predictive and causal relationships. Together with action policy formulation and decision making, this will underlie the machine’s abilities to create abstractions, to suggest and test hypotheses, and develop self-awareness."

This very ambitious project has been divided into 5 modules.

It will certainly be interesting to see the progress of this EU project.

Sources: CORDIS News, August 27, 2007; and various websites

You'll find related stories by following the links below.

Topic: Emerging Tech

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

3 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Interesting...

    I read somwhere where this scientist thorized that computer are becoming so
    powerful that it might be possible to transfer the entire life experience of a person
    into one....ie you into a computer. Now "IF" they can make workable robots
    well.....

    Being a diabetic from age 6 I've gotten a bit of a love/hate relationship with my
    defective body. I'm also kind of facinated by scifi and the concepts I've seen over
    the years like the Star Trek character "Data" now that is the kind of immortality I
    would like to explore. And if I grow tired of it....I can alway hit the off switch...:P

    Pagan jim
    Laff
  • SkyNet

    Cyberdyne's neural chip will be deployed in a new generation of UCAS which will form SkyNet. The system is expected to become self-aware shortly after being fielded. Asimov's rules were cut from the SOW due to funding profile constraints.
    carrilion
  • RE: Artificial brains for robots?

    Artificial brains are really where it's at isn't it? Robots shaped like humans has been the goal for much more than 50 years. At MIT they have a robot that will follow you with his eyes, and shake its head yes or no.
    All news that comes from Europe has to be viewed with some skepticism. These are the same folks that come out with great announcements about various scientific breakthroughs, but sadly we almost never hear about that break through again.
    spaceroc@...