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Applied Bionics and Biomechanics
Volume 3 (2006), Issue 1, Pages 23-27

Self-Inhibiting Modules Can Self-Organize as a Brain of a Robot: A Conjecture

J. Negrete-Martínez

Departamento de Biología Celular y Fisiología. IIBm. Unidad periférica en Xalapa, UNAM, and Facultad de Física e Inteligencia Artificial, UV, Calle Sebastián Camacho # 5, Colonia Centro 91000 Xalapa, Veracruz, Mexico

Copyright © 2006 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


In this article we describe a new robot control architecture on the basis of self-organization of self-inhibiting modules. The architecture can generate a complex behaviour repertoire. The repertoire can be performance-enhanced or increased by modular poly-functionality and/or by addition of new modules. This architecture is illustrated in a robot consisting of a car carrying an arm with a grasping tool. In the robot, each module drives either a joint motor or a pair of wheel motors. Every module estimates the distance from a sensor placed in the tool to a beacon. If the distance is smaller than a previously measured distance, the module drives its motor in the same direction of its prior movement. If the distance is larger, the next movement will be in the opposite direction; but, if the movement produces no significant change in distance, the module self-inhibits. A self-organization emerges: any module can be the next to take control of the motor activity of the robot once one module self-inhibits. A single module is active at a given time. The modules are implemented as computer procedures and their turn for participation scheduled by an endless program. The overall behaviour of the robot corresponds to a reaching attention behaviour. It is easily switched to a running-away attention behaviour by changing the sign of the same parameter in each module. The addition of a “sensor-gain attenuation reflex” module and of a “light-orientation reflex” module provides an increase of the behavioural attention repertoire and performance enhancement. Since scheduling a module does not necessarily produce its sustained intervention, the architecture of the “brain” is actually providing action induction rather than action selection.