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Computer-Aided Creativity in Robot Design

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One of the arthropod robots.

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have automated and optimized robot design with a system that creates arthropod-inspired robots for traversing a variety of terrains.

Credit: MIT News

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) researchers have developed a system that simulates and optimizes robot design and control programs.

RoboGrammar avoids jumbled structures yielded from arbitrary connections between parts by following rules on component arrangement, or graph grammar, inspired by arthropods.

Based on inputs of available components and intended terrain, RoboGrammar defines the problem, drafts possible solutions, and chooses the optimal ones, using graph grammar to design all permutations.

Each robot has a Model Predictive Control algorithm to model its movements and select the best design, while a graph heuristic search algorithm iteratively samples and assesses sets of robots, learning which designs execute a specific task better.

Said Columbia University’s Hod Lipson, “This work is a crowning achievement in the 25-year quest to automatically design the morphology and control of robots.”

From MIT News
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