Fifth lecture 20-04

The fifth lecture takes place on the 20th of April 2022 at 4:30 PM (CEST), most likely virtually (we will give an update if attendance in-person becomes possible).

The zoom link to attend the lecture is:

The lecture features Professor Josh Bongard, here’s more details:

From rigid to soft to biological robots

Organisms and robots must find ways to return to a viable state when confronted with unexpected internal surprise such as injury, or external surprise, such as a new environment. Rigid robots can only confront such challenges by adapting behaviorally. Soft robots have the added option of morphological adaptation: changing shape, material properties, topology, plurality, and/or mass. Finally, biological robots – machines built completely from biological tissues – inherit the protean nature of their donor organisms, providing them with forms of morphological and behavioral adaptation beyond even today’s most morphologically plastic soft robots. In this talk I will review our recent efforts to create biological robots, and how their protean natures have led us to rethink how we approach soft robotics, embodied cognition, and intelligence in general.

Josh Bongard is the Veinott Professor of Computer Science at the University of Vermont and director of the Morphology, Evolution & Cognition Laboratory. His work involves automated design and manufacture of soft-, evolved-, and crowdsourced robots, as well as computer-designed organisms. A PECASE, TR35, and Cozzarelli Prize recipient, he has received funding from NSF, NASA, DARPA, ARO and the Sloan Foundation. He is the co-author of the book How The Body Shapes the Way we Think, the instructor of a reddit-based evolutionary robotics MOOC, and director of the robotics outreach program Twitch Plays Robotics.