Two students from the University of Tennessee, one an undergrad and one a graduate student have created a robot that can roam around a room, scanning for obstacles and not bump into anything. While robots that move autonomously, guided by computer chips and software are not new, the design of this particular robot is different.
Using neuromorphic engineering, the robot is designed to think and act as if it had a brain. Using electrical circuit design, engineers use neuromorphic techniques to get a machine, like a robot, as close to the biological architecture of a human brain as possible. It's a multidisciplinary approach that requires crunching some big numbers, using anatomy modeling and computer programming and AI. The result for these two students seems to be an initial success. Parker Mitchell, one of the creators, explains that the concept of this kind of engineering is not to write code that tells a robot what to do, but instead to create a computer model that will allow the robot to figure it out, autonomously. The robot, named NeoN, was the subject of a senior design project at the university