Brain-Based Devices for the Study of Nervous Systems and the Development of Intelligent Machines

Jeffrey Krichmar and Gerald Edelman
The Neurosciences Institute
10640 John J. Hopkins Dr.
San Diego, CA 9212, USA

Citation: J. L. Krichmar and G. M. Edelman [2005]. Artificial Life. Vol. 11, Issues 1-2, pp. 63 - 78 - Winter-Spring 2005. Special Issue on Embodied and Situated Cognition. Preprint available in pdf format.

Abstract: The simultaneous study of brain function at all levels of organization is difficult to undertake with current experimental tools. Present day electrophysiology only allows the recording of at most hundreds of neurons while an animal is performing a behavioral task. Because of this limitation and the sheer complexity of the nervous system, computational modeling has become essential in developing theories of brain function. Accordingly, our group has constructed a series of brain-based devices (BBDs), that is, physical devices with simulated nervous systems that guide behavior, to serve as a heuristic for testing theories of brain function. Unlike animal models, BBDs permit analysis of activity at all levels of the nervous system as the device behaves in its environment. Although the principal focus of developing BBDs has been to test theories of brain function, this type of modeling may also provide a basis for robotic design and practical applications.

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Last Modified: May 27, 2005