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

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

We have just launched a new artificial life and bottom-up robotics project. We are looking for teachers and students to join us.

III. Robot Software

Learn about the artificial intelligence software designed by our students and faculty and download software for yourself.

IV. Robot Hardware

You can buy robotics devices fully-assembled, you can use robot kits, or you can build them from scratch. We will tell you how we build ours & help you build yours.

V. Using Robots in the Classroom

Robots are designed with the objective of helping students to explore theories of the mind, to raise philosophical questions, and to consider the nature of personhood.

Contact Us!

There are several on-going research projects which students can participate in over the Internet. The projects are designed primarily for undergraduates and their faculty advisers, but there are also opportunities for K-12 students and teachers.