Emergence of autonomy for changing environment is a fundamental question in the living systems, and it is a challenging filed in robotics to implement the autonomy into the robotic system. Recent technological progress made it possible to develop the hybrid systems which integrate biological neurons and electric components. A hybrid system incorporating closed-loop control of a mobile robot by neuronal cultures can be created by Sensory Motor Coupling; the electric activity of neurons are recorded and converted to produce the motor commands to the mobile robot and the sensory information is fed back to the neuronal culture. In functional sensory motor coupling (SMC), sensory information influences activity in motor networks, which in turn generate meaningful movement interacting with the real environment as training progresses.
In order to reveal how autonomy can be emerged in the behaviour of the mobile robot by the SMC to the neuronal cultures, in this project we will simulate the hybrid system which can show the cognitive behaviour, and analyse the correlation between behaviour pattern of the mobile robot and the functional connectivity of the neuronal networks under different physical and chemical constraints. To reveal the origin of functional connectivity and cognitive behaviour, a physical process such as reaction-diffusion modeling is investigated.
Project Research Group
Lecturer of Robotics, University of Reading
Professor of Cybernetics, University of Reading
Lecturer of Neuro-engineering, University of Reading
MRes student, University of Reading