Learn by Watching
Professor Mandyam Srinivasan's research focuses on the principles of visual processing, perception and cognition in simple natural systems, and on the application of these principles to machine vision and robotics.
Professor Marie Dacke
Small insect with even smaller brains still have to solve major problems on a daily basis. A desert living insect will for example quickly die if lost in the heat of the day. How does an insect with a brain smaller than a rice grain manage without a compass, or do they? Biologist Marie Dacke is an award winning speaker who among other things studies flight control and navigation in insects.
Professor Robert Full
UC Berkeley biologist Robert Full is fascinated with cockroach legs that allow them to scuttle at full speed across loose mesh and gecko feet that have billions of nano-bristles to run straight up walls. He's using his research to design the perfect robotic "distributed foot," adding spines, hairs and other parts to metal legs and creating versatile scampering machines.
He's helped create robots, such as Spinybot, which can walk up sheer glass like a gecko -- and he even helped Pixar create more realistic insect animations in the film A Bug's Life.
Summer School Video: "How do we understand the external world and the other agents? We will introduce our ongoing research (using a combined theoretical, empirical and computational approach) on how living organisms (and possibly robots) can understand (1) the external environment, with its affordances, and (2) other people as intentional actors, linking their behavior to (hidden) goals and distal intentions. We assume that all these (epistemic) abilities are intimately associated to the (pragmatic) ability to take intentional actions and to predict their outcomes, and (partially) recruit the same neural and computational mechanisms.
Furthermore, we discuss how these abilities are also important prerequisites fo more advanced cognitive and social skills such as tool use, joint actions, and language understanding. Thus, more generally, the question is: how can living organisms (and possibly robots) develop higher cognition from sensorimotor skills? In keeping with embodied and motor theories of cognition, we propose that the architecture of motor prediction and control of our earlier ancestors was gradually improved to afford cognitive control and executive functions (and in parallel, joint actions and communication in the social domain)."
Architect Mick Pearce
In the last 20 years Pearce has focused on sustainable architecture and has explored the principles of biomimicry, which is the imitation of natural processes and the use of natural materials. One of the goals of his architecture style is to minimise damage to the environment. He prefers to use local materials and traditional technologies such as windmills.
Professor Aude Oliva
Aude Oliva is a Principal Research Scientist at the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Her research is cross-disciplinary, spanning human perception/cognition, computer vision, and cognitive neuroscience, focusing on research questions at the intersection of the three domains.