LADE Meeting

Yuri Gardinazzi

Title: Sensory-loop adaptation in Boolean network robots


Recent technological advances have made it possible to produce tiny robots equipped with simple sensors and effectors. Micro-robots are particularly suitable for scenarios such as exploration of hostile environments, and emergency intervention –e.g. in areas subject to earthquakes or fires. A crucial desirable feature of such a robot is the capability of adapting to the specific environment in which it has to operate. Given the limited computational capabilities of a micro-robot, this property cannot be achieved by complicated software but it rather should come from the flexibility of simple control mechanisms, such as the sensory-motor loop. In this work we explore the possibility of equipping simple robots controlled by Boolean networks with the capability of modulating their sensory-motor loop such that their behavior adapts to the incumbent environmental conditions. This study builds upon the cybernetic concept of homeostasis, which is the property of maintaining essential parameters inside vital ranges, and analyzes the performance of adaptive mechanisms intervening in the sensory-motor loop. In particular, we focus on the possibility of maneuvering robot’s effectors such that both their connections to network nodes and environmental features can be adapted. As the actions the robot takes have a feedback effect to its sensors mediated by the environment, this mechanism makes it possible to tune the sensory-motor loop, which, in turn, determines robot’s behavior. We study this general setting in simulation and assess to what extent this mechanism can sustain the homeostasis of the robot. Our results show that controllers made of random Boolean networks in critical and chaotic regimes can be tuned such that their homeostasis in different environments is kept. This outcome is a step towards the design and deployment of controllers for micro-robots able to adapt to different environments.

Apr 16, 2024 11:30 AM — 12:30 PM
LADE Meeting
Sala Riunioni RIT, Area Science Park
Località Padriciano 99, Trieste, 34149
Area Science Park - RIT
Area Science Park - RIT
Research Institute

The Institute of Research and Innovation Technology (RIT) at Area Science Park carries out cutting-edge research and provides services and consulting to public and private-sector users through its three laboratories equipped with state-of-the-art technology.