“Sea-urchins, and urchin inspired robots”

Dr. Klaus M. Stiefel, Neurolinx Research Institute, www.neurolinx.org, Marine Science Institute, University of the Philippines.


Sea urchins are marine grazers with skin covered in spines and miniature claws. Despite their placid appearance, they display a number of interesting behaviors.
I will first review the biology of sea urchins, then present our work on the covering behavior of sea urchins: Several phylogenetically unrelated urchins pick up marine debris and place it on their bodies. The animals use debris for camouflage, weighing themselves down, UV-protection and possibly food storage. Different species select different types of debris for these purposes. We analyzed this behavior with field studies, lab experiments and video analysis of the collecting process.
In the last part of my presentation I will outline how I think sea-urchins can inspire the design of new and interesting robots, namely by designing a robotic surface made up of semi-independent sensory-motor units. This type of distributed problem solving is effective, relatively easy to implement, and very distinct from human intelligence.


Time: Tuesday, 24th October 2017, 6:30 p.m. sharp

Location: Oesterreichisches Forschungsinstitut
fuer Artificial Intelligence, OFAI
Freyung 6, Stiege 6, 1010 Wien

Univ.-Prof. Ing. Dr. Robert Trappl