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TechnologyDARPA Wants to Turn Insect Brains Into Robot Brains

04:20  11 january  2019
04:20  11 january  2019 Source:   popularmechanics.com

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Through a DARPA -funded program, scientists at Through a DARPA -funded program, scientists at the University of California invented a tiny rig that connects to an insect ’s brain and flight muscles. Engineers at CRASAR are developing small robots to aid in search-and-rescue missions and disaster

Insect brains are probably the simplest interesting brains So at the conjunction of neuroscience and robotics lie insects -- their tiny brains still too complex to model completely, but offering an easy way into DARPA 's hypersonic Phantom Express spaceplane gets sign off to be built. By Libby Plummer.

DARPA Wants to Turn Insect Brains Into Robot Brains© Oscar Sánchez Photography - Getty Images Instead of basing our artificial intelligence on ourselves, DARPA is experimenting with something a bit simpler.

The military wants artificial intelligence, but it's not intending to cook it up from scratch. Instead, in a recent solicitation, DARPA asked for proposals to build AI based on insect brains. The program seeks to build AI that are smaller and more efficient than normal software.

Unlike us, insects operate almost entirely based on simple stimuli. Moths, for instance, are so programmed to navigate based on the direction of light that they occasionally navigate directly into light bulbs. While these sorts of basic rules can sometimes backfire, they’re also incredibly simple and easy to implement, which is what makes them useful to the military.

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The goal of the project , called DragonflEye, is enabling insects to carry scientific payloads or conduct surveillance. One day they'll malfunction and start digging into people's brains . Birds and insects have been on a "wishlist" for a very long time. There are darpa grants to indicate this.

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This type of research was initially developed in the 1980s at MIT by roboticist Rodney Brooks, who developed a number of robots based on their principle. Perhaps the most successful was a robot named Herbert, who could autonomously move around the office and collect empty soda cans. Herbert was able to avoid obstacles, identify and pick up cans, and drop them in a recycling bin by relying on only 15 simple rules.

Herbert’s greatest strength was that it required very little processing power or memory to operate. Instead of an internal map of the office and a complex suite of sensors to navigate the environment, Herbert's insect-like programming let it perform the same tasks more efficiently.

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Short for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency , DARPA is the wing of the U.S. Department of Defense that’s responsible for developing Eventually such insects could be used in the field to gain access to areas not easily reachable by humans or robots . Brain -computer interface.

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Harvey existed long before the advent of machine learning, but the same principles apply to modern AI. Insect-like artificial intelligence could be used to perform simple tasks cheaply, and another advantage here is that training neural networks should happen much faster.

DARPA’s program will launch April 3.

Source: DARPA via Nextgov

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