A Situated Vacuuming Robot

D. Bruemmer, R. Dickson, J. Dilatush, D. Lewis, H. Mateyak, M. Mirarchi, M. Morton, J. Tracy, A. Vorobiev, L. Meeden

We undertook this project as an opportunity to explore design ideals of the embodied approach. At our disposal was a Pioneer robot and its Saphira software (ActivMedia 1996). Similar to subsumption architecture (Brooks 1986), the Saphira software tackles the dilemma of how to implement layered control design within a system which is inherently centralized. Brooks saw each layer as a simple and almost independent computational entity and, likewise, Saphira allows us to create a hierarchy of behaviors that each have the capacity to function simultaneously and yet asynchronously. Just as Brooks proposed a means by which one level can subsume a lower level by inhibiting its output, so behaviors can each be assigned a priority.

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