Robots & Stuff

Artificial Intelligence programs can be very effective in helping to think about the nature of minds (natural and artificial). But mere programs, lacking the ability to manipulate objects in the world, lacking the ability to 'do' anything, may thereby prove to be an inadequate model for the human mind. Come join us as we attempt to build robots with 'minds'. Might it even be possible to create a robot that is a person?

I. Why Build Robots?

Students gain valuable experience building robots, teachers gain powerful tools for the classroom, and faculty gain research opportunities.

II. Robot Design: Top-down v. Bottom-up

There are two fundamentally different models for building intelligent machines. We have research projects building both types.

A. Building Robots From the Top... Down

Student researchers have designed and built several generations of 'Iris' robots. These robots pick up blocks, play tic tac toe, have video cameras and neural nets for eyes and more.

Iris 1  (completed)
    Iris 2  (completed)
Iris 3  (inactive)
    Iris 4  (inactive)
Iris 5  (inactive)

B. Building Robots from the Bottom... Up: Autonomous Agents

In addition the excellent virtual "behavior-based" robotics lab created by our friends at Vassar College we have recently launched (in 2017) the Knight Rover Robotics Initiative, which seeks to create easy to use, reasonably priced physical robots to complement our virtual robotics labs.

III. The Knight Rover Robotics Initiative

This is our current, active robotics project.