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Science and Systems I

The new Robotics: Science and Systems conference spans all areas of robotics, bringing together researchers working on the algorithmic and mathematical foundations of robotics, robotics applications, and analysis of robotics systems. This volume contains papers presented at the inaugural conference, held at MIT in June, 2005.

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Probabilistic robotics is a new and growing area in robotics, concerned with perception and control in the face of uncertainty. Building on the field of mathematical statistics, probabilistic robotics endows robots with a new level of robustness in real-world situations. This book introduces the reader to a wealth of techniques and algorithms in the field. All algorithms are based on a single overarching mathematical foundation.

Head direction cells—neurons that fire only when an animal orients its head in a certain direction—are found in several different brain areas, with different neurons selective for different head orientations; they are influenced by landmarks as well as motor and vestibular information concerning how the head moves through space. These properties suggest that head direction cells play an important role in determining orientation in space and in navigation.

Theory, Algorithms, and Implementations

Robot motion planning has become a major focus of robotics. Research findings can be applied not only to robotics but to planning routes on circuit boards, directing digital actors in computer graphics, robot-assisted surgery and medicine, and in novel areas such as drug design and protein folding. This text reflects the great advances that have taken place in the last ten years, including sensor-based planning, probabalistic planning, localization and mapping, and motion planning for dynamic and nonholonomic systems.

From Biological Inspiration to Implementation and Control

Autonomous robots are intelligent machines capable of performing tasks in the world by themselves, without explicit human control. Examples range from autonomous helicopters to Roomba, the robot vacuum cleaner. In this book, George Bekey offers an introduction to the science and practice of autonomous robots that can be used both in the classroom and as a reference for industry professionals.

Cynthia Breazeal here presents her vision of the sociable robot of the future, a synthetic creature and not merely a sophisticated tool. A sociable robot will be able to understand us, to communicate and interact with us, to learn from us and grow with us. It will be socially intelligent in a humanlike way. Eventually sociable robots will assist us in our daily lives, as collaborators and companions.

Proceedings of the Eighth International Conference on the Simulation of Adaptive Behavior

The biannual International Conference on the Simulation of Adaptive Behavior brings together researchers from ethology, psychology, ecology, artificial intelligence, artificial life, robotics, engineering, and related fields to advance the understanding of behaviors and underlying mechanisms that allow natural and synthetic agents (animats) to adapt and survive in uncertain environments.

The complex social behaviors of ants have been much studied by science, and computer scientists are now finding that these behavior patterns can provide models for solving difficult combinatorial optimization problems. The attempt to develop algorithms inspired by one aspect of ant behavior, the ability to find what computer scientists would call shortest paths, has become the field of ant colony optimization (ACO), the most successful and widely recognized algorithmic technique based on ant behavior.

The Laws That Govern the Formation of Multiple Images of a Scene and Some of Their Applications

Over the last forty years, researchers have made great strides in elucidating the laws of image formation, processing, and understanding by animals, humans, and machines. This book describes the state of knowledge in one subarea of vision, the geometric laws that relate different views of a scene. Geometry, one of the oldest branches of mathematics, is the natural language for describing three-dimensional shapes and spatial relations.

The Biology, Intelligence, and Technology of Self-Organizing Machines

Evolutionary robotics is a new technique for the automatic creation of autonomous robots. Inspired by the Darwinian principle of selective reproduction of the fittest, it views robots as autonomous artificial organisms that develop their own skills in close interaction with the environment and without human intervention. Drawing heavily on biology and ethology, it uses the tools of neural networks, genetic algorithms, dynamic systems, and biomorphic engineering.

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