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artificial intelligence combined with artificial life

Gaak the Robot escapes from "maintainence pen" for real.

Special to Independent Media 7:08pm Mon Jul 8 '02

It seems Gaak, a "living robot" participant in Magna Centre's show of evolving robots,
managed to break a padlock and escape from a robot "routine maintainance" pen and was captured in the parking lot by a passerby, which Gaak surprised by greeting him.

Shades of No. 5. See link below to Magna Centre. - American Vet

Robots are being let loose in a colony of
machines in an attempt to find out whether
they can learn from their experiences.

The scientists behind this unusual experiment
describe it as an evolutionary arms race for
robots, with the machines struggling to collect

The Living Robots experiment will be open to
the public from 27 March at the Magna science
adventure centre in Rotherham in England.

Visitors will be able to watch the real life Robot
Wars in a purpose-built arena, designed to hold
500 people.

Hunting prey

For the experiment, the robots have been
divided into predators and prey.

The prey robots are
small grey metal
creatures on wheels
that get their energy by
positioning their solar
panels near sources of

The larger predator
robots get their energy by locating and hunting
down the prey to extract their battery power.

The robots all operate without any human
intervention, and are designed to learn by
themselves and evolve.

Scientists hope the experiment will reveal that
these robots have the ability to use their
accumulated experiences to enable them to
develop improved escape routines and more
complex hunting strategies.

"You may find that the predators will go into
packs and hunt in packs which will be the
clever things to do," said Professor Noel
Sharkey of Sheffield University.

"My own feeling is that they won't hunt in
packs until they are very evolved and to begin
with they actually will try to fight each other
off to get at the prey."

Electronic genes

The ultimate aim is to
build more intelligent
robots for dangerous
tasks like exploring
distant planets, where
machines might need
to adapt to changing

Professor Sharkey and
his dedicated team at
the Creative Robotics
Unit at Magna spent
the last 18 months
developing the robots.

Both the predator and prey robots are
controlled by neural networks that take input
from their sensors and send output instructions
to their drive motors. This is what enables and
controls their behaviour.

Most of the sensing on the robots is done with
their infrared sensors.

The machines can evolve by uploading their
"electronic genes" to a remote computer.

The principle of survival of the fittest will apply
as only robots which survive for a given length
of time will be allowed to re-enter their
electronic genes into the breeding pool.



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