Why build robots?

The Mind Project is an interdisciplinary, student/faculty research and curriculum project. We are committed to the design of long term research projects where undergraduates (and even high school students) do virtually all of the research. A central focus of this research is the design and construction of artificial persons (robots and virtual persons). Our goal is not, however, to create a state-of-the-art robot that would rival the output of major research institutions in cognitive science. If you are interested in the state-of-the-art in artificial intelligence and in robotics, you might visit MIT's cognitive science labs where they are building humanoid robots, such as the 'infant' robot Cog:

MIT's Humanoid Robotics Group

We do not pretend to be competing with research programs the likes of Carnegie Mellon, MIT, and the Beckman Institute. We do, however, have a fairly ambitious goal that we are trying to achieve with our robots. The objective is to create robots that are modestly priced and that become powerful teaching tools when brought into the classroom. Because our robots are designed so that students can understand precisely how they work, they are, in certain respects, superior to their more sophisticated cousins.

Our criteria for success on this project, then, is measured by the degree to which we accomplish the following goals:

  • Student Research Projects

    We are developing undergraduate research opportunities in numerous disciplines to give students experience in working on complex, longterm, interdisciplinary projects in cognitive science. To see how we are doing on this score, you can explore our student research projects:

  • Curriculum Section

    Student-faculty research teams are creating instructional tools for use in the classroom that will give students a hands-on introduction to certain areas in cognitive science at the undergraduate level. While we are still early in the process of developing curriculum materials you can visit our curriculum site:

And if you want to meet our first artificial person, Iris, feel free to visit her as well.