The Role of Research

The Mind Project is committed to placing "research" at the center of instruction in the cognitive and learning sciences. In our Curriculum section, many of the modules give virtual "hands-on" experience as students are asked to implement a variety of research methodologies in cognitive science. Many of our modules are immersive virtual labs that challenge users to become researchers in neurobiology, field anthropology, cognitive psychology, AI and robotics, and more.

In just one research area -- AI and robotics -- we offer learning experiences of not only a virtual kind but of a  physical kind. In our physical robotics projects, students do almost all of the reseach with faculty serving as mentors.

The projects that we support stretch students' intellectual abilities and require both initiative and hard work. In most cases, the research projects produce something of significance (ai software, curriculum modules, robots, etc.) that will enhance students' understanding of the nature cognition.

intro to our robots

We have created many resources in AI & robotics that enhance educational experiences -- from immersive virtual robotics labs to physical robots. This page places our physical robot projects (both past and present) into a broader context to show how they complement our primary mission -- which is to create interactive learning activities to aid students of every age in their exploration of the nature of minds, both organic and mechanical.

[new] knight rover robotics

In the Spring of 2017, we launched this new robot project built around our new ROOK software to be used with readily available, inexpensive mobile robots. Today (Spring of 2018) we have a team of 10 students (9 undergraduates from Illinois State University & 1 high school student) developing new hardware and software for use in the classroom.


From 1995 until 2014 we developed four versions (1-4) of the IRIS robot. The cognitive center of most of these robots was the artificial agent, ProtoThinker created by John Barker one of the founder members of The Mind Project community. It is a remarkable piece of AI software that is available for download. We highly recommend it.


This is the repository for all of our completed student research projects. You will find a record of the development of the IRIS robots as well as a few other projects.

We are always interested to learn about student research projects at other institutions. Please let us know about your own work (dlandersATilstuDOTedu).