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Name: cat Travis
Member since: 2003-08-07 16:21:36
Last Login: 2007-04-18 01:38:26

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I first became interested in robots in 1974. I was taking a computer science courses, and I saw the cover of a magazine called Psychology Today. It had a picture of a robotic arm and talked about artificial intelligence. I became intensly interested in neural networks in the late eighties. I have experimented with some extremely rudimentary designs that have applied very simple mechanical principles. I am currently trying to come up with a simple design for a mechanical arm and hand. My purpose is to design and build something that can be easily and cheaply reproduced. My ultimate goal is to have this arm and hand be able to participate in the construction and maintaince of copies of itself. In this way I hope to get multiple robots interacting with each other. I realize that this is an rather unbelieveably ambitious project. I am trying to keep it reduced to its rawest essentials. Writing about it now does fill me with some degree of hopelessness. I think that it quite good for me however to be finally publically stating this as a goal.

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6 Apr 2007 (updated 6 Apr 2007 at 01:49 UTC) »

Basically, what I'm working on is the non-business business model. To me the greatest contemporary invention was the dune buggy. It took a junk VW and gave it real value. I hope to do the same with what I still don't know

What would be the one thing I would want to say about robotics? I guess there's a series of things. That's where I get into trouble. I can't narrow it down. I suppose I should start with artificial intelligence. An artificially intelligent machine has to be evolved. It can't be designed in one fell swoop. What is needed is a platform that can be steadily improved upon. It has to be the ultimate in simplicity. Probably the most important feature would be feedback. Feedback is the cornerstone of intelligence if intelligence is the ability to adapt. Of the five human senses that make feedback possibe the sense of touch is the most basic. You can be blind, deaf and dumb, but if you can't feel you're a vegetable. If you have motion and feedback from that motion then you're a player. You can interact with the world. You can start building the foundations of intelligence. Next you need an application. You have to have a purpose. Information is just applied data. Intelligence is applied information. Wisdom is applied intelligence etc. The most basic application would be reproduction. The machine has to be simple enough that it can participate in it's own reproduction yet complex enough that it can do useable work. Also it has to be cost effective enough that it can flourish. Once it can participate and in some sense control its reproduction then it can branch out to other uses and become more viable. It will eventually need mobility but in its nuturing stage it can start as stationary as long as it can reach out. To me, what it has to be able to do is grasp. In today's robotics end effectors are all designed for specific uses. The hand is considered superflous. I believe it is the cornerstone to intelligence. Robonaut uses a hand, but it is strictly remote control, and the space program has slowed to a crawl. We'll be waiting a long time for it to evolve. Asimov too has hands, but does not accentuate feedback. The beauty of Asimov is its motors. For an intelligent machine to evolve and flourish it has to as motor independent as possible. An intelligent machine will eventually be able to make something as complex as a motor, but that complexity has to be put off as long as possible.

The basic physical axiom of robotics is the strength to wieght ratio. If it not greater than one the robot cannot even move itself. If it is to do useable work it has to be much greater. The trick as I see it is to have the power source removed from the remote manipulator. This would indicate some sort of tendon control.

There is much more to be written down, but this should constitute a beginning.

What am I up to this morning? Building a website? Where do I start? I guess I'm pretty lost. Can you tell? By coming here I thought I might help remedy that. I'm the king of wishful thinking. I need to come up with ideas to write down on my website. I started out with idea of discovering the secret of artificial intelligence. First there is the axiom of "garbage in, garbage out". Only an embodied intelligence solve it. An embodied intelligence has a closed loop between information gathering and information usage. You can't evolve artificial intelligence without it imho. The most basic sense to gather this information for use in performing useable work would be the sense of touch, You can be blind, deaf and dumb, but if you're numb you're a vegetable. What's the simplest way of implementing a sense of touch, the so called haptic interface? I decided for me it would be to use opposing forces. I'm still working out an explanation of what I'm trying to do. It's easier for me to show what I'm doing than explain it. I need a picture.

Posted as a reply to the question as to whether machines will ever be conscious: Moravec wrote a book, Machine Evolution, the jest of which, I believe, is that machines are following the path humans followed only they are moving a lot faster. Another thing to keep in mind is that humans started off thinking that everything had a spirit including rocks. It's called animism. Life is a stimulus response organism. A machine that responds to stimuli, that follows cybernetic principles might be said to be artificially alive. Beyond that it is a matter of complexity. At what level do natural organisms attain consciousness? If an organism has a nerve cell does that mean it has the ability to be conscious of something? Isn't this the same as the old argument about intelligence? Look at viruses. Will viruses ever evolve into something more complex? Will the net itself ever develope a sense of idenity? It is the thing that most closely resembles the human brain. I think that that is the thing that disappoints me the most about So much of it is devoted to the brain of the robot. The internet should be brain of the robot! Or at least it will be someday. As with everything else I am in too much of a hurry. The first brains were just dead ends on the spinal cord. They were just muscle controllers. That's where we are today. Look at Aibo, Asimov and the robot olympics. The most glaring deficit in all these logic designs is the lack of feedback. Of course what should one expect when the goal is basic survival? Think of what life was like for early human beings when life expectancy was about twenty years. Inhibitions and IQ weren't real high on the list.

Been away for quite a while. First I acquired computer vision syndrome. It got so it really hurt to spend time in front of a computer monitor. I took a lot of time off therefore to heal. I feel pretty good now. Then when when I did feel good enough to get back online my hard disk shot craps. I found a old junk computer and swapped out the hard disk from it, so I'm back in business. Let's see what kind of run I can put together this time.

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