Methods and Applications

Animal-like robots are playing an increasingly important role as a link between the worlds of biology and engineering. The new, multidisciplinary field of biorobotics provides tools for biologists studying animal behavior and testbeds for the study and evaluation of biological algorithms for potential engineering applications. This book focuses on the role of robots as tools for biologists.

An animal is profoundly affected by the many subtle and complex signals within its environment, and because the animal invariably disturbs its environment, it constantly creates a new set of stimuli. Biorobots are now enabling biologists to understand these complex animal-environment relationships. This book unites scientists from diverse disciplines who are using biorobots to probe animal behavior and brain function. The first section describes the sensory systems of biorobotic crickets, lobsters, and ants and the visual system of flies. The second section discusses robots with cockroach motor systems and the intriguing question of how the evolution of complex motor abilities could lead to the development of cognitive functions. The final section discusses higher brain function and neural modeling in mammalian and humanoid robots.

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction

    Thomas R. Consi and Barbara Webb

  2. 1. A Spiking Neuron Controller for Robot Phonotaxis

    Barbara Webb

  3. 2. Environmental Information, Animal Behavior, and Biorobot Design: Reflections on Locating Chemical Sources in Marine Environments

    Frank W. Grasso

  4. 3. Insect Strategies of Visual Homing in Mobile Robots

    Ralf Möller, Dimitrios Lambrinos, Thorsten Roggendorf, Rolf Pfeifer and Rüdiger Wehner

  5. 4. Aerial Minirobot that Stabilizes and Tracks with a Bio-Inspired Visual Scanning Sensor

    Stéphane Viollet and Nicolas Franceschini

  6. 5. Construction of a Hexapod Robot with Cockroach Kinematics Benefits both Robotics and Biology

    Roger D. Quinn and Roy E. Ritzmann

  7. 6. Build Robots with Complex Motor System to Understand Cognition

    Holk Cruse

  8. 7. Perceptual Invariance and Categorization in an Embodied Model of the Visual System

    Nikolaus Almássy and Olaf Sporns

  9. 8. Investigating Models of Social Development using a Humanoid Robot

    Brian Scassellati

  10. Epilog

    Barbara Webb and Thomas R. Consi

  11. Bibliography
  12. Index