[Dprglist] Distributed processing: octopus

David Anderson davida at smu.edu
Mon Jan 4 13:52:23 PST 2021



But in this case it's not just an intelligent sensor talking to a main 
controller that then commands the actuators.  Rather, the sensor is 
intelligent enough to command the actuators directly, without involving 
the main controller.

The can gripper on the SR04 robot sort of does this.  The robot never 
directly commands the gripper to close, only to open.  But the gripper 
itself tries to close anytime it's feelers touch something.  Sort of 
like setting off a trap.   If it's successful it signals to the robot 
that it has grabbed something, after the fact.

This was modeled on what psychologists call the grasping reflex, 
particularly evident in infants that tend to grab whatever they touch.  
It is up to the brain to steer the hand toward interesting targets to 
grab, but the hand closes on its own.   I didn't know about the 
octopuses at the time but it seems analogous.

It strikes me that the octopus is like the hand in that way, but times a 
zillion because it has much more local smarts and it's "sensors and 
actuators" are so amazingly versatile.


On 1/4/21 3:08 PM, Murray Altheim via DPRGlist wrote:
> On 4/01/21 7:58 pm, David Anderson via DPRGlist wrote:
>> I found this fascinating.
>> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mFP_AjJeP-M
>> TL;DW  Very smart animals.  Most of the brain seems to be in the arms,
>> which can be driven from the central brain or act independently, or
>> in concert with other arms, without going through the brain. And the
>> amazing color and shape-shifting skin also appears to be able to see.
> Hi David,
> This reminds me a bit of our ongoing robotics topic around the use of
> distributed sensor-processors, e.g., the camera-as-sensor, the VL53L1X
> time-of-flight sensor (the size of a grain of rice) with its own internal
> processor, or using Arduino slaves with a Raspberry Pi master, basically
> the idea of off-loading some of the sensor processing out to the sensors
> themselves -- "smart sensors". So rather than having a robot with all of
> its neurons in its head, some robots might have the majority of its
> neurons in its arms (sensors), like the octopus.
> ----
> On a somewhat related subject to the video, I highly recommend a book
> that changed my perspective on long time-scales, the history of the
> earth, and our ultimate impact upon it:
>   The Ends of the World, by Peter Brannen
> https://kenyonreview.org/reviews/the-ends-of-the-world-by-peter-brannen-738439/
> ...and actually quite a fascinating read, such as Brannen's description
> of the many bloom-and-die cycles of early earth biology.
> Cheers,
> Murray
> ........................................................................... 
> Murray Altheim <murray18 at altheim dot com>                       = 
> =  ===
> http://www.altheim.com/murray/ ===  ===
> = =  ===
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>            -- Minamoto no Tsunenobu
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