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Morphogenetic Robotics: An Emerging New Field in Developmental Robotics

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2 Author(s)
Yaochu Jin ; Dept. of Comput., Univ. of Surrey, Guildford, UK ; Yan Meng

Developmental robotics is also known as epigenetic robotics. We propose in this paper that there is one substantial difference between developmental robotics and epigenetic robotics, since epigenetic robotics concentrates primarily on modeling the development of cognitive elements of living systems in robotic systems, such as language, emotion, and social skills, while developmental robotics should also cover the modeling of neural and morphological development in single- and multirobot systems. With the recent rapid advances in evolutionary developmental biology and systems biology, increasing genetic and cellular principles underlying biological morphogenesis have been revealed. These principles are helpful not only in understanding biological development, but also in designing self-organizing, self-reconfigurable, and self-repairable engineered systems. In this paper, we propose morphogenetic robotics, an emerging new field in developmental robotics, is an important part of developmental robotics in addition to epigenetic robotics. By morphogenetic robotics, we mean a class of methodologies in robotics for designing self-organizing, self-reconfigurable, and self-repairable single- or multirobot systems, using genetic and cellular mechanisms governing biological morphogenesis. We categorize these methodologies into three areas, namely, morphogenetic swarm robotic systems, morphogenetic modular robots, and morphogenetic body and brain design for robots. Examples are provided for each of the three areas to illustrate the main ideas underlying the morphogenetic approaches to robotics.

Published in:

Systems, Man, and Cybernetics, Part C: Applications and Reviews, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:41 ,  Issue: 2 )

Date of Publication:

March 2011

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