Start date: Jan 15, 2008,
End date: Dec 31, 2010
The single overarching goal of the SF consortium is to identify the neuronal, cognitive and behavioral principles underlying optimal foraging in rodents and to implement these principles in a real-world foraging artefact or the Synthetic Forager (SF.01). SF.01 constitutes a novel biologically based cognitive technology for autonomous exploration and foraging in real-world man-made indoor and outdoor environments. SF exploits our growing understanding of exploration and foraging behavior in rodents, advances current theories of the neuronal and behavioral organization of foraging and transfers this understanding towards the construction of novel real-world synthetic cognitive technologies. The behavior and neurophysiology of foraging will be studied in rodents behaving in automatically controlled multi-modal environments, fully controlled using an advanced experimental technology developed by the consortium. The overall integration of the perceptual, cognitive and behavioral control systems will be accomplished using a Distributed Adaptive Control (DAC). The perceptual, cognitive and behavioral control systems of SF will be based on statistical analysis and detailed game theoretic models. The SF control systems are validated against the behavioral and physiological data. The SF phenotype comprises a high-mobility robotic platform equipped with visual, auditory, olfactory and tactile sensors. The SF will be evaluated in a number of stringent benchmarks ranging from robot equivalents of rodent foraging tasks to simulated de-mining.The approach and technologies developed in SF will have long-term implications to areas including: cleaning robots, search and rescue systems, terrestrial and planetary exploration, delivery systems, autonomous transportation systems, military intelligence and battle field information control systems, environmental monitoring, internet information analysis and retrieval, information and communication networks and humanitarian de-mining.
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