Evolutionary robots

Tuesday 15 August 1995

Taking inspiration from Darwin's theory of evolution, scientists from the Sussex University, UK, have developed a technique for evolving designs for neural network controlled robots with greater self-sufficiency.

The approach is similar to the concept of natural selection - here computer programmes which allow a degree of 'free choice' in the manoeuvres defined, and those that perform best are selected to breed the next generation robots. The researchers of the university's Evolutionary Research Group are employing Mr Chips - a mobile robot with a head that holds a laptop computer, and a body consisting of an array of processors, printed circuit boards and antennae.

Special attention is being focussed on the study of insects to understand the biological mechanisms underlying intelligent activity on which robotic movement could be based. Says Dave Cliff, lecturer in the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence department at the university, "The fact that generally few nerve cells are involved in generating behaviour in insects makes it more practicable to model insect nervous systems on currently available computers."

Move from news to views and get in-depth reports on issues that matter to you, every fortnight.
Subscribe now »

We are a voice to you; you have been a support to us. Together we build journalism that is independent, credible and fearless. You can further help us by making a donation. This will mean a lot for our ability to bring you news, perspectives and analysis from the ground so that we can make change together.

Comments are moderated and will be published only after the site moderator’s approval. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name. Selected comments may also be used in the ‘Letters’ section of the Down To Earth print edition.

Scroll To Top