If every tool, when ordered, or even of its own accord, could do the work that befits it, just as the creations of Daedalus moved of themselves ... If the weavers' shuttles were to weave of themselves, then there would be no need either of apprentices for the master workers or of slaves for the lords.

Aristotle (from Politics, Book 1, 1253b, 322 BC)


robotic handHeron has a holistic approach to robotics.

Traditionally robotics has been mainly focused on planner and controller design, and has made various significant advances on this respect.

Although the design (statical and dynamical) of the mechanical subsystem of the robot greatly affects its control, the theoretical study of the relationship between the robot mechanical structure and its resulting controllability has often been ignored.


neuronsThe design of more versatile robots, which could eventually be compared to natural biological systems, requires perhaps a more integrated approach, considering that any physical system is in itself a computation system (think to 'morphological computation' or to the Heron of Alexandria' s automas and automatisms).

On the other hand, many complex tasks in uncertain non linear outdoor operations, for civil and defense applications, can be, at least in principle, coped by swarms of cooperative intelligent autonomous robots. In nature there are many kinds of loosely coupled networks of intelligent agents, largely varying in terms of quantity of agents and cognitive and adaptive capacity (i.e. of computational needs) of each agent.

We are led to investigate the dynamics of networks of intelligent robotic agents, with complex planning, control and cooperation strategies. 


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