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Old 11-16-2006, 07:39 PM   #1 (permalink)
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New robot can heal itself

Taken from

Friday Nov 17 10:12 AEDT

Scientists say they have created a brainy, four-legged robot resembling a starfish that can sense damage to its body and, on its own, think up a way to recover.

Researchers Hod Lipson and Victor Zykov of Cornell University and Josh Bongard of the University of Vermont made a robot that observed its own motion using built-in sensors in its joints and then generated its own concept of itself, or at least its physical structure, in its internal computer.

It used this internal model of itself to figure out how to walk on its four legs and eight motorised joints.

"In the beginning, the robot starts off and does not know what it looks like," Lipson said.

"You look at it, and you see that it's a four-legged machine. But the robot itself doesn't know that. All it knows is that it could be a snake, it could be a tree, it could have six legs."

Lipson said the robot used various movements of its joints, first to generate hypotheses and then to formulate an accurate conception of itself.

The researchers then tested the robot's ability to adapt to new situations - in this case injury - by shortening one of its legs.

"The robot knows something's wrong," Lipson said.

Animals can compensate for injury by changing movements, like limping to favour an injured leg. Machines can be programmed to react to a problem in a certain way. But when they are damaged in unexpected ways, they usually are doomed.

This plucky robot responded by generating on its own a new concept of its structure, accurately sensing it had been altered, and then devising a new way to walk using a different gait to compensate for the injury.

The robot's smarts, awareness of itself and ability to adapt on its own separates it from its mechanical brethren.

"We don't really think this is self-consciousness, which is a robot thinking about itself thinking," Lipson said.

"But I do think it is moving in the direction of consciousness, like a cat, that kind of level."

Aside from contributing to a philosophical debate, the research has practical implications - giving hope to people who envision sending robots that can adapt to unforeseen circumstances to explore other worlds or the ocean floor.

"There is a need for planetary robotic rovers to be able to fix things on their own," Bongard said in a statement.

"Robots on other planets must be able to continue their mission without human intervention in the event they are damaged and cannot communicate their problem back to Earth."

Christoph Adami of the Keck Graduate Institute of Applied Life Sciences in Claremont, California, wrote a commentary accompanying the research entitled, What Do Robots Dream Of? - an allusion to science fiction writer Philip Dick's 1968 novel, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

Adami described how a robot like this one might perform in unknown territory, exploring the landscape and then "dreaming" of new methods to overcome obstacles it had encountered.

"And even though the robots ... seem to prefer to dream about themselves rather than electric sheep, they just may have unwittingly helped us understand what dreams are for," he said.

Reminded of malicious robots and computers turning on their human masters in movies like The Terminator and 2001: A Space Odyssey, Lipson was not worried.

"We just pull the plug out of the robot. That's all," Lipson said.

"There are more immediate things to worry about than to worry about that."
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Old 11-16-2006, 10:17 PM   #2 (permalink)
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link with picture

Article with picture
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Old 11-17-2006, 03:04 AM   #3 (permalink)
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So now we have to take out all of their legs, otherwise they'll just keep on coming.

fucking international robots
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Old 11-17-2006, 09:17 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Now on Tech Review.....stop them now....self awareness is step one....killing is step two!
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Old 11-17-2006, 08:35 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I was just on my way here to post this!

This is very bad news!

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Old 11-18-2006, 08:46 AM   #6 (permalink)
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damn you guys are quick i just read about this and the israeli nanobots!!

New robot can sense damage, compensate
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Old 11-19-2006, 03:24 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I kinda like this one. It has a broken leg, it can't be bad, right?

It's almost as if they've worked out that HUAR's coming for them and have developed cute-animal behaviour to elicit sympathy. They've worked out we're gonna fuck them over as soon as they start walking around in public so they've added a limp. Who's gonna shoot a robot with a limp.
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Old 11-19-2006, 07:35 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I'd shoot a robot with a limp.........just easier to shoot!!!!!!!
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Old 11-20-2006, 07:49 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Roman
I'd shoot a robot with a limp.........just easier to shoot!!!!!!!
No Mercy!....and welcome to the forums Fuuuuuuuck Youuuuuuu!
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Old 11-20-2006, 11:42 AM   #10 (permalink)
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the ending

I loved the end, should the robots turn on us what would you do "pull the plug". Well thanks asshole you just tought the machine to fix itself or find more power. Way to go!
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