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Cognitive Robotics Lab Launched at Rensselaer Polytechnic

At a Cognitive Robotics Lab, students of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute are studying how human thought can outweigh brute force computers. The 20 programmable robots at the lab permit testing real-world performances of computer models simulating human thought.

The lab weds the study of how the brain receives and interprets information within the challenges of a physical surrounding. Progress in cognitive robotics shifts to artificial intelligence seeking to design better computer systems based on human thought.

Professor Bram Van Heuveln, founder of the lab, said scientists have developed perception/action, planning, reasoning, memory, decision-making, elements believed to make up human thought. When these elements are well meshed, they can solve complicated issues without the energy needed by accurate mathematical compilations. Robotics is ideal to put that theory to test because robots perform in the actual world, and a precise cognitive solution will tolerate unplanned problems.

The lab has five Create robots, including a Roomba vacuum cleaner coupled with a laptop; three hand-eye systems; one Chiara resembling a huge metal crab; and 10 LEGO robots coupled with the Sony Handy Board controller.


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