Re: Biomechanical evolution of vertebrate evolution - Hewlett Packard

This is a discussion on Re: Biomechanical evolution of vertebrate evolution - Hewlett Packard ; Definitely cool.... Almost looks like deer or elk.... BUT...i fail to see the evolution part... A super piece of machinery created by someone that can move and maintain it's balance. Similar to you/me. Created by someone (God) that can walk ...

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Thread: Re: Biomechanical evolution of vertebrate evolution

  1. Re: Biomechanical evolution of vertebrate evolution

    Definitely cool.... Almost looks like deer or elk....

    BUT...i fail to see the evolution part... A super piece of machinery
    created by someone that can move and maintain it's balance. Similar to
    you/me. Created by someone (God) that can walk about and maintain balance.

    Now, how can it be applied to do useful functions ? Bomb disposal ? Rescue
    in a contaminated area ? War function somehow ? Like the drones we have up
    in air ?

    -----Original Message-----
    From: Wirt Atmar [mailto:atmar@AICS-RESEARCH.COM]
    Sent: Monday, March 24, 2008 3:58 PM
    To: HP3000-L@RAVEN.UTC.EDU
    Subject: [HP3000-L] Biomechanical evolution of vertebrate evolution

    I posted the following a few minutes ago to a vertebrate paleontology list
    that I participate in, and I thought that the list might enjoy the video
    that I mention in the posting as well.

    Wirt Atmar

    ==========================================

    In a burst of youthful enthusiasm 32 years ago, when I founded AICS
    Research, the "AICS" stood for "Artificially Intelligent Cybernetic
    Systems." We long ago tired of explaining what that phrase meant so we
    condensed the name to simply AICS. Over time, we moved away from robotics
    and became primarily a software supplier to Hewlett-Packard and their
    customers, but the original intention was to design and build self-learning,
    biologically-inspired autonomous mechanisms.

    With that introduction, let me show you this video and simultaneously
    express my admiration for what the people at Boston Dynamics have been able
    to accomplish. This 3 minute video clip was released just a few days ago:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W1czBcnX1Ww

    The clip is of "BigDog." It is at once eminently reminiscent of naturally
    evolved locomotion and at the same time enormously unsettling in its
    alienness.

    BigDog has a gasoline engine to power the hydraulic system acuators that act
    as its musculature. Proprioception is accomplished by angle and pressure
    sensors located at every joint and foot pad, and the CNS is encephalized in
    a central CPU, which also processes visual and equilibrium inputs as well.

    The end result is quite impressive.

    Like most work of this kind, it is funded by the US military, in this case,
    the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), but DARPA is lot more
    willing to fund flights of fancy than any of the civilian research granting
    agencies and at much higher dollar amounts, and a lot of good work does
    eventually come out their efforts. The internet was one of their funded
    projects.

    Wirt Atmar

    ===========================================

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  2. Re: Biomechanical evolution of vertebrate evolution

    > Definitely cool.... Almost looks like deer or elk....

    EXTREMELY COOL!!!

    > BUT...i fail to see the evolution part... A super piece of machinery
    > created by someone that can move and maintain it's balance. Similar to
    > you/me. Created by someone (God) that can walk about and maintain balance.


    May I humbly recommend a book that will explain the evolution in this
    demonstration? "Out of Control" by Kevin Kelly[1]. Mr. Kelly founded Wired
    magazine (Wirt recently informed me that he is also a family member of the
    Absolut Vodka empire.) The book actually has a chapter of man's efforts to
    build a machine that can walk. One of the first attempts was a "god" attempt
    developed by Carnegie-Mellon called Ambler. It was a big machine with six
    legs. It would take about a day to walk across the courtyard. Why so slow? Its
    brain, which was so big it had to remain on the ground separate from the rest
    of the beast, spent most of its time determining the topology and calculating
    the next best step. The brain looked at all inputs and every possible outcome
    and tried to control EVERYTHING in a "god"-like manner.

    Meanwhile, an MIT professor and Australian named Rodney Brooks wrote a book
    called "Fast, Cheap and Out of Control". The idea was to create a machine that
    can walk by decentralizing the intelligence. Instead of making a really big
    brain, he made legs that reacted to certain events. He created a six-legged
    machine and programmed each leg separately. When one leg goes up, others know
    to push back. The one that's up knows to move down, etc. With the right
    sensors and feedback, he built a very stupid machine that walked like a big
    roach. The simple rules were so good that if you pulled off a single leg, it
    would rebalance itself and continue to walk - much like we saw the big dog do
    on the ice in the YouTube clip but he did this in 1990.

    The point of the book is that simple well-tuned systems can combine to form
    more complex systems. After eighteen years the rules that made the six-legged
    "roach" walk became good enough to make a four-legged "big dog" walk. How much
    longer will it take to figure out the rules to make a bipedal walking machine?
    All without a brain? If you consider how little we think about each and every
    muscle while we walk it's eerily similar.

    The book contains many more examples of self-ordering systems. IMHO, if I were
    like God, this is exactly how I would create the world.

    Mark W.

    1. http://www.amazon.com/Out-Control-Bi.../dp/0201483408

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