Hardware implementation of neuromodulated neural network for a CPU-less autonomous mobile robot
In order to construct truly autonomous mobile robots, the concept of 'packaging' is indispensable; in packaging, all parts such as controllers, power systems and batteries should be embedded inside a finite physical space, i.e., a robot's body. Therefore, implementing a controller on hardware is one of the most promising ways, since this contributes to low power consumption, miniaturization, etc. Another crucial requirement in the field of autonomous mobile robots is robustness, i.e., autonomous mobile robots have to cope with their unpredictably changing environment in real-time. In this study, to meet these requirements, the concept of a dynamically rearrangeable electrical circuit (DREC) is proposed and we implement this onto field progammable gate arrays as physical electronic circuits by borrowing the idea from neuromodulation widely observed in biological nervous systems through the diffusion-reaction mechanism of neuromodulators. We developed the DREC for the peg-pushing task as a practical example. We confirmed that the physical DREC can successfully regulate the behavior according to the situation encountered by changing its properties in real-time.
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