From spinal cords to sofas

SofaThose of you interested in my last article on central pattern generator chips may also want to read a new piece I’ve written for EE Times, this time on the use of CPGs in modular robots. It partly covers the salamander robot built by Auke Ijspeert and his team EPFL (and widely reported on after an article about it appeared in Science), but goes on to discuss how CPG-based locomotion may is being used to make Roombots: modular, self-organizing furniture that can walk around on its own.

This kind of work is an important step in the evolution of modular robotics, which I first got a chance to write about some years ago. There are very real problems to be grappled with, both in terms of the electronic and the mechanical design. This article explains how the EPFL team are handling the control side of this problem.