Machina Speculatrix

built by Michael Gasperi

Click on an image to enlarge it
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Target Environment Locomotion Method
Indoors 3 Wheels
Sensors / Input Devices Actuators / Output Devices
light sensor
bump sensor
steering postition sensor
steering motor
drive motor
Control Method Power Source
Autonomous Battery
CPU Type Operating System
Programming Lanuage Weight
Time to build Cost to build
URL for more information
Over fifty years ago W. Grey Walter started building three wheeled, turtle like, mobile robotic vehicles. These vehicles had a light sensor, touch sensor, propulsion motor, steering motor, and a two vacuum tube analog computer. Even with this simple design, Grey demonstrated that his turtles exhibited complex behaviors. He called his turtles Machina Speculatrix after their speculative tendency to explore their environment. The Adam and Eve of his robots were named Elmer and Elsie (ELectro MEchanical Robots, Light Sensitive.)

His robots were unique because, unlike the robotic creations that preceded them, they didn't have a fixed behavior. The robots had reflexes which, when combined with their environment, caused them to never exactly repeat the same actions twice. This emergent life-like behavior was an early form of what we now call Artificial Life.

I have started to recreate the basic structure of the turtles using LEGO Mindstorms.

For more information and images please go to the web page.

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