The University of Edinburgh -
Division of Informatics
Forrest Hill & 80 South Bridge

Research Paper #741

Title:An Arbitrary Architecture for an Artificial Arthropod
Date:Mar 1995
Presented:In the Proceedins of the Conference "Integration of Elementary Functions into Complex Behaviour" held by the Research Group "Prerational Intelligence" at the Un
Abstract:In previous work (Webb 1993, 1994) I have reported on the use of a robot to model an insect sensory-motor system (phonotaxis in the cricket). As a means of generating and testing hypotheses about neural mechanisms, an important advantage of this approach over simulation is that the robot must physically interact with a real sound field, so the posed problems realistically represent those solved by the cricket. Another advantage is that taking a robotic approach (how can I get a machine to behave like the cricket?) to a specific, well-explored biological problem (what are the known characteristics and underlying systems for this behaviour?) can draw on the strengths of both fields in attempting to understand how sensory-motor systems work. It should be possible to extend this approach to model a more complex range of sensory-motor mechanisms; for example to explore the interaction of different kinds of orienting responses in the cricket. Doing so would raise the problem of how simple capacities can best be integrated into complete behaving systems. What might a robotic approach suggest about the kind of system needed for this integration ? And what is known about biological mechanisms for integrating sensory-motor capacities ? In other words, what is the right architecture for building an artificial arthropod?

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