Robot Babies, Robots Evolve Altruism and Robot-riding Babies

So this is how the baby robot take-over begins:

Patterns of Nonverbal Emotional Communication Between Infants and Mothers to Help Scientists Develop a Baby Robot That Learns “The babies teach the researchers how to program the robot, and in training the robot the researchers get insight into the process of human behavior development, explains Paul Ruvolo, six year graduate student in the Computer Science Department at UC San Diego and co-author of the study.

Then comes the baby robot, possibly one of the most frightening things I’ve seen in a while:

Robot Baby

Photo Credit: Hosoda Lab

Via “Measuring the size of a 7 month old infant, Pneuborn-7II was built to study the relationship between motor development and embodiment.  It is 80cm (31″) tall, weighs 5.4kg (11.9 lbs), and has 26 degrees of freedom actuated by 19 pneumatic muscles.  Notably, the robot’s spine has three pitch and yaw joints that allow it to rotate, flex, and extend.  It is fully autonomous, containing a micro controller, battery, air valves, and an air source (compressed C02 cartridge bottle).  During long experiments, air can be provided through an external compressor.

The researchers implemented a learning algorithm based on central pattern generators with an optimization method, which was able to generate successful crawling forward motions.  They were able to accomplish this despite the robot’s lack of sensors or sophisticated artificial intelligence.  Central pattern generators (or CPGs for short) are a type of neural network that are often used in robotics to create rhythmic motions that are especially useful for simple locomotion such as crawling or rolling over.”

They’ve also got Pneuborn-13 which is modeled on a 13-month old, can stand and make stepping motions.

Fortunately, we also now know that robots are capable of learning how to share. This video describes these little bots evolution:

So maybe we’re not completely doomed… or maybe this just means the hordes of robot-babies will learn how to work together to bring about mankind’s demise…

And, as I mentioned in another post, Science is already working on robots that develop emotions and play on our weakness for all things cute. Teaming up with human babies seems like a final sinister step in our inevitable downfall, because babies are born experts at manipulating our cuteness weakspot. Makes this next clip a little more freaky, doesn’t it?

I, for one, welcome our new robot-baby overlords.

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