New robot to adopt human thought processes

May 04, 2005

A team of computer scientists at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth have secured a major grant to build a robot that uses the same 'thought processes' used by the human brain.

Led by Professor Mark Lee, the Aberystwyth team is joined by academics from six other leading universities who, together, have secured £1.9m of financial backing from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council for the project. The Aberystwyth share is £470k.

According to Professor Lee, the purpose of this project is to try to ‘unravel’ the way in which the brain works and then build a robot that can ‘think’ for itself.

“Humans and animals adapt their actions according to what surrounds them, and are able to do several things at the same time and learn from their mistakes. With this project we hope to solve this problem of multi-tasking by using our knowledge of how the brain works.”

The team will work on three areas of development. The robot will be built to recognise objects and retrieve them using a robot ‘arm’ and cameras for ‘eyes’. It will also be able to detect features and events in its local environment. Finally it will have the ability to assess the significance of current events, direct attention to the most important and perform appropriate actions.

“All these capabilities will be combined within an overall control system that makes use of a central selection mechanism, just as we believe occurs in the brain,” added Professor Lee.

“Our understanding of how the brain works is also key to the next stage which will involve ‘teaching’ the robot how to react to things that change around it – for example something which could potentially distract it from the task it has been set. It will also be able to learn from its mistakes just as humans do.”

“Once the robot has been constructed we will then ‘stand back’ and ask the question ‘what general features of the model gave it its ability to integrate its behaviours successfully?’ By doing this we hope to be able to transfer our work into a wider range of robots designed for many different tasks.”

Professor Lee is particularly interested in robots that can provide assistance for the disabled, the old and the infirm, and the advantages of developing them to work in dangerous, hostile or inaccessible environments.

The full project team is made up of mathematicians, control engineers, computer modellers and neuroscientists. The five year project has also secured the backing of industrial sponsor BAE Systems.

Explore further: World's largest solar boat on Greek prehistoric mission

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Biomarkers of the deep

11 hours ago

Tucked away in the southwest corner of Spain is a unique geological site that has fascinated astrobiologists for decades. The Iberian Pyrite Belt (IPB) in Spain's Río Tinto area is the largest known deposit ...

JIBO robot could become part of the family

Jul 17, 2014

JIBO, measuring at about 11 inches tall and weighing approximately 6 pounds, is a robotic device designed for people to use as a companion and helper at home. , The team behind JIBO aims to bring it to market ...

Tracking the breakup of Arctic summer sea ice

Jul 16, 2014

As sea ice begins to melt back toward its late September minimum, it is being watched as never before. Scientists have put sensors on and under ice in the Beaufort Sea for an unprecedented campaign to monitor ...

Recommended for you

Local education politics 'far from dead'

17 hours ago

Teach for America, known for recruiting teachers, is also setting its sights on capturing school board seats across the nation. Surprisingly, however, political candidates from the program aren't just pushing ...

First grade reading suffers in segregated schools

17 hours ago

A groundbreaking study from the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute (FPG) has found that African-American students in first grade experience smaller gains in reading when they attend segregated schools—but the ...

Violent aftermath for the warriors at Alken Enge

18 hours ago

Denmark attracted international attention in 2012 when archaeological excavations revealed the bones of an entire army, whose warriors had been thrown into the bogs near the Alken Enge wetlands in East Jutland ...

Why aren't consumers buying remanufactured products?

20 hours ago

Firms looking to increase market share of remanufactured consumer products will have to overcome a big barrier to do so, according to a recent study from the Penn State Smeal College of Business. Findings from faculty members ...

Expecting to teach enhances learning, recall

20 hours ago

People learn better and recall more when given the impression that they will soon have to teach newly acquired material to someone else, suggests new research from Washington University in St. Louis.

User comments : 0