ROBOT: Batty idea

From: J. R. Molloy (
Date: Wed Oct 11 2000 - 22:32:53 MDT

A ROBOT in Edinburgh is finding its way around with the help of smart ears that
have "evolved" to help it echolocate like a bat. Researchers at the University
of Edinburgh who developed the RoBat say that cars equipped with similar
biologically inspired sound sensors could one day make roads safer.

To do this, the researchers used a genetic algorithm that mimics natural
selection to get the best design. The algorithm operates on an artificial
chromosome--a data string representing the ear's shape. First the chromosome was
mutated 100 times. The algorithm then tested each mutated version to see how
well it performed, and bred the "fittest" together to produce a new offspring.
After the process had been repeated 1000 times, the best chromosome was used to
build the RoBat's ears.

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