FEBRUARY 5, 2009--Insects have provided the inspiration for a team of European researchers seeking to improve the functionality of robots and robotic tools. The research furthers the development of more intelligent robots, which can then be used by industry, and by emergency and security services. The EU-funded SPARK project (www.spark.diees.unict.it) set out to develop a new robot control architecture for roving robots inspired by the principles governing the behavior of living systems and based on the concept of self-organization.
Basing their work on the basic functions of the insect brain, the team developed a new architecture for artificial cognitive systems that could significantly increase the ability of robots to react to changing environmental conditions and to learn behavior in response to external stimuli. The research team calls their new software architecture a spatial-temporal array computer-based structure (SPARC).
Within the SPARC software architecture, the robot's powers of perception are enhanced by its ability to use information derived from visual, audio, and tactile sensors to form a dynamically evolving pattern. The pattern is in turn used to determine the movements of the device. The researchers' technical objective was to produce a moving artifact able to actively interact with its environment to carry out a set task. For more information, go to: http://cordis.europa.eu/ictresults/index.cfm/section/news/tpl/article/id/89726