Billions of years of design, fabrication, and in-field testing (bio-systems).
W. Grey Walter's “Tortoise” Robots, 1948. Analog, autonomous robots that exhibited emergent behavior.
Vehicles - Experiments in Synthetic Psychology , Valentino Braitenberg, 1984
Rodney Brooks' work at MIT AI Lab. The concepts of “Behavior-Based Robotics” and “Subsumption Architecture.”
Rodney Brooks' Ideas
No world-building (No map-making)
Reactive (Sense-Act vs. Sense-Plan-Act)
Bug-brained (No “Cognition Box”)
“Recipe” for BBR:
Do simple things first
Learn to do them flawlessly
Add new layers on top of successful ones
Don't change the simple things
Make new layers work as flawlessly as previous ones
Repeat as needed
Brooks' Ideas (Con't)
Subsumption Architecture – An AI control architecture built upon behavior modules (state machines) organized into layers moving from the more basic (avoid an obstacle) to the more abstract (find a place to hide, i.e. a dark spot), with “higher order” layers able to subsume lower ones.
Brooks' Ideas (Con't)
A bunch of working “dumb” bots is better than one broken smart bot.
"Planning is just a way of avoiding figuring out what to do next."
“Let the world reveal itself.”
Key BEAM Concepts
Favors analog over digital control
K.I.S.S. (Appropriate tech, minimalism)
A human is way that a robot builds a better robot
BEAM Games (Evolution through competition)
Aesthetics drive interest (the art of robots)
Autonomy, Whenever possible, ASAP
Recycle, recycle, recycle
A robot must protect its existence at all costs.
A robot must obtain and maintain access to a power source.
A robot must continually search for better power sources.
Protect thy ass.
Feed thy ass.
Move thy ass to better real estate.
- Better Known As -
The Nervous Net (Nv) – BEAM's answer to the Neural Net (Nu).
A real-time nonlinear analog control system emulating a low-level peripheral spinal system. Based on arrays of sequential RC (Resistor-Capacitor)-time-based pulse delay circuits in closed loops, an Nv net is any circuitry that can act as a medium for sustaining independent control processes.
Nv Neurons (Bicores, Quadcores, & Morecores)
A differentiating circuit element. In its simplest form, a Nv neuron is formed from a capacitor, resistor, and an inverter.
BEAM Schemes (Con't) Example: Bicore – Most basic type of Nv Net with two “neurons” made of 2 caps, 2 inverters (Not gates), and 1 shared resistor.
BEAM Schemes (Con't)
The Solar Engine – A simple circuit that collects energy through solar cells, stores it in a capacitor or battery, and then dumps it on a given condition (interval of time, voltage value, darkness, etc.)
Free-forming Circuitry – A minimalist construction scheme where electronic components are used as structural elements
“The street finds its own uses for things” - Design ingenuity, cool hacks, novel apps