European researchers becoming parents to bouncing baby robots

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John Blau writes in this month's issue of Spectrum:

The team behind the iCub robot believes that robots, like children, learn best from experience. Like a toddler who progressively learns about his own motor skills and how to interact with the world, the iCubâ''the size of a 3-year-old child, with sensor-equipped hands, eyes, and earsâ''has touch, sight, and hearing to explore its surroundings and develop its cognitive abilities.

The iCub is the baby of RobotCub, the European Unionâ''funded project that aims to advance research on the use of humanoid robots to understand human learning. Scientists in Europe and beyond believe humanoids can be essential tools in the study of human intelligence, which many of them argue is linked to the structure of the human body and the way it can interact with its surroundings. Their argument: because the physical body and its actions together play as much of a role in cognition as does the brain, mimicking human actions is essential to understanding the components of intelligence, like reasoning or memory.

Read the rest of the story, "Open-Source Baby," here.

PHOTO: ROBOTCUB

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