as read on CNET's CRAVE Gadget Blog...
"Intel taps student's robot for processor demo
While I've always been a little scared of spiders, watching student Matt Bunting's hexapod robot dancing has all but cured me. Maybe it's the combination of the folk guitar and little leg sways in the below video, but all of a sudden, spiders (at least the robotic kind) look so damn cute.
Cuteness aside, the hexapod bot has gotten some attention from high places. Two days after Bunting, a University of Arizona electrical-engineering senior, posted a YouTube video of his bot, Intel ordered two of them to promote its Atom processors at trade shows and engineering meetings. The robot uses Intel's 1.60GHz Atom Z530 and US15W chipset. It runs on the Ubuntu open-source operating system.
The hexapod robot uses a Logitech QuickCam Communicate Deluxe Webcam mounted on its front for vision. (Credit: Matt Bunting)
Bunting built the as-yet unnamed robot from spare parts as a final project for a UA class on cognitive robotics. A camera mounted on the front of the six-legged creature (each leg has three degrees of freedom) takes successive images, which are used to help Hex determine if it is moving forward, sideways, or backward or tilting.
By analyzing the visual feedback, the 14x17x8-inch robot adaptively "learns" how to most effectively achieve its forward-moving goal.
"One of the things I wanted to explore was the idea of reinforcement learning. What I wanted to do was not preprogram any of those walking algorithms, I wanted it to figure out how to walk straight forward on its own," Bunting said. "It has the ability to figure it out itself..."
Read the full article at its source: http://news.cnet.com/8301-17938_105-10450394-1.html