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 Humanoid robot helps scientists to understand intelligence

This story is from the category Artificial Intelligence
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Date posted: 01/04/2009

A humanoid robot newly acquired by Imperial College London will lead to a deeper understanding of human intelligence, says scientists today.

The College?s Departments of Computing and Electrical and Electronic Engineering believe that iCub, about the size of a three year old child, will further their research into cognition, the process of knowing that includes awareness, perception, reasoning and judgement.

Researchers want to learn more about how humans use cognition to interact with their world. They believe iCub?s human-like body will help them to understand how this is done.

iCub has mechanical joints that enable it to move its head, arms, fingers, eyes and legs similarly to the way that humans do. Professor Murray Shanahan, of the Department of Computing, says this is important because cognition is very much tied up with the way we interact with the world.

?Nature developed cognition for us in order to make us better at interacting with the physical and social world,? he explains. ?If we want to understand the nature of cognition better then we really need to understand it in the context of something that moves or interacts with objects. That is where iCub can help us.?

The team will test their theories about cognition by creating a computer simulation of a brain, which will replicate how neurons in real brains communicate through short bursts of electrical energy. In people, this process helps us to interact with the physical world. For instance, the electrical signals sent by neurons control muscles that enable people to lift a cup to the mouth to sip on a drink.

The team will link the computer simulation of a brain to iCub so that it can process information about its environment and send bursts of electrical energy to its motors to allow it to move its arms, head, eyes and fingers to carry out very simple tasks such as lifting a ball and moving it from one place to another.

See the full Story via external site: www.physorg.com



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