School of Computing Research Colloquia

Sensorimotor systems in insects and robots

Barbara Webb, School of Informatics, University of Edinburgh

Abstract: Despite their relatively small brains, the sensorimotor tasks faced and solved by insects are comparable in a number of ways to those faced by vertebrates and humans. For example they need to smoothly combine or switch between different responses depending on context, and they need to distinguish re-afferent input (i.e. stimuli caused by their own movement) from external disturbances, which may involve predictive processes. There has also been much recent interest in the learning capabilities of insects and what neural architecture is needed to support their behavioural flexibility. Our approach to these problems combines behavioural experiments with modelling approaches that utilise realistic input and output constraints by implementing the hypothesised neural control circuits on robots