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Ashby's Mobile Homeostat

Artificial Life and Intelligent Agents 2014

In 'Design for a Brain' W. Ross Ashby speculates about the possibility of creating a mobile homeostat with its critical states set so that it seeks situations of high illumination. This is an embedding of Ashby's classic homeostat (1948) within a simulated robot and environment with two degrees of freedom. It uses a 2-unit homeostat with disjoint units that co-ordinate only via their environment.

In this experiment we can observe the effect of switching the eyes around, and seeing if it is able to re-adapt.

  1. Allow the homeostat to find a stable solution (trace turns green)
  2. Click anywhere on the canvas to switch the eyes around (trace turns red)
  3. Does this effect or de-stabilize the robot?
  4. Allow the homeostat to re-stabilize (trace turns green)
  5. Refresh the page to re-initialize if it gets stuck in a degenerate cycle

Compare with type 1 and type 2 Braitenberg vehicles.

Source code: Vehicles

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