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Artificial Life

Spring 2016, Vol. 22, No. 2, Pages 241-268
(doi: 10.1162/ARTL_a_00202)
© 2016 Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Active Shape Discrimination with Compliant Bodies as Reservoir Computers
Article PDF (2.09 MB)

Compliant bodies with complex dynamics can be used both to simplify control problems and to lead to adaptive reflexive behavior when engaged with the environment in the sensorimotor loop. By revisiting an experiment introduced by Beer and replacing the continuous-time recurrent neural network therein with reservoir computing networks abstracted from compliant bodies, we demonstrate that adaptive behavior can be produced by an agent in which the body is the main computational locus. We show that bodies with complex dynamics are capable of integrating, storing, and processing information in meaningful and useful ways, and furthermore that with the addition of the simplest of nervous systems such bodies can generate behavior that could equally be described as reflexive or minimally cognitive.