The emergence of self-directed behavior in robots can be grounded in the synaptic plasticity of their nervous systems, according to a study by researchers at the Institute of Science and Technology in Austria.
The study's authors, Max Planck Institute professor Ralf Der, and Georg Martius, a fellow at the Institute for Science and Technology in Austria, have demonstrated the emergence of sensorimotor intelligence in robots based on their proposed learning rule.
Der and Martius used bio-inspired robots consisting of a humanoid and a hexapod robot in physically realistic computer simulations. The robots received sensory input from their bodies but were not given any form of instruction or task. The tight coupling of environment, body, and an artificial neural network enabled the robots to obtain feedback from their situation and adapt quickly.
The researchers say the proposed synaptic plasticity is a coupling mechanism that enables a neural network to generate constructive movements for almost any given body. They note the concept could potentially lead to a new understanding of the early stages of sensorimotor development in the natural world.
From Institute of Science and Technology Austria
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