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Resilient Machines Through Continuous Self-Modeling

Science  17 Nov 2006:
Vol. 314, Issue 5802, pp. 1118-1121
DOI: 10.1126/science.1133687

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Abstract

Animals sustain the ability to operate after injury by creating qualitatively different compensatory behaviors. Although such robustness would be desirable in engineered systems, most machines fail in the face of unexpected damage. We describe a robot that can recover from such change autonomously, through continuous self-modeling. A four-legged machine uses actuation-sensation relationships to indirectly infer its own structure, and it then uses this self-model to generate forward locomotion. When a leg part is removed, it adapts the self-models, leading to the generation of alternative gaits. This concept may help develop more robust machines and shed light on self-modeling in animals.

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