More correctly, this is Adam (ADAptive Mobile robot) in Eden (EDucational ENvironment). Adam is a learning robot developed at Monash University in Australia. The Melbourne Herald Sun tells us more in "Current research gives Adam a charge."
In an attempt to further the development of home robots, Associate Professor Andy Russell has put Adam (ADAptive Mobile robot) in his own garden named Eden (EDucational ENvironment) where the dish-shaped robot learns how to travel in the most energy-efficient way and feed himself from flowers when his charge dies.
The Garden of Eden has three flowers made of aluminium plates and green borders, which he can feed from with his antenna-like nose to acquire the energy he needs.
Here is a photo of Adam feeding from a 'flower' in Eden (Credit: Andy Russell).
Adam contains colour, light, collision and sound sensors and a micro-controller system that lets him wander around.
For more information about this experiment, please visit Andy Russell's homepage.
He writes: "Robot learning is a very appealing area of research that has a number of potential benefits. A robot with the ability to learn would require less application-specific programming to customise it for performing a particular operation. If the environment changed then a learning robot may also be able to adapt appropriately without external guidance."
For me this is a new area of research and so there are no publications as yet. The current project focuses on the transition between an organism whose genetically evolved competence is purely inherited and one with the added ability to learn from its environment. The framework of the project draws on Rolf Pfeifer's ideas about building complete autonomous systems that he calls "Fungus Eaters".
On this page, you'll have access to two videos of Adam learning to avoid colliding into a wall.
Source: Michelle Pountney, Melbourne Herald Sun, August 20, 2003
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