Self-Awareness in Robots

What do robots dream of?

This is the title of a perspective paper published this week in Science written by Christoph Adami. The author argues that robots that create and update internal models of their own structure may be able to better adapt to the world. Indeed, the robot developed by J. C. Bongard, H. Lipson, and V. Zykov is able to self-detect his own damages and generate a new gaits adapted to its new (damaged) situation. This capability can improve the use of robots in dangerous enrironments. Usually, animals adapt their gaits to any injure they may have. However, this is not common in machines. Bongard et al. have developed a four legged robot able to sense its own movements and structure and calculate new adapted gait models after it has suffered a damaged.