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Implementing Tolman's Schematic Sowbug: Behavior-Based Robotics in the 1930's

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Scholarly Materials And Research @ Georgia Tech
Keywords
  • Orientation And Progression Distribution
  • Orientation And Progression Vectors
  • Purposive Behaviorism
  • Receptor Organ
  • Schematic Sowbug
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Abstract

This paper reintroduces and evaluates the schematic sowbug proposed by Edward C. Tolman, psychologist, in 1939. The schematic sowbug is based on Tolman's purposive behaviorism, and it is believed to be the first prototype in history that actually implemented a behavior-based architecture suitable for robotics. The schematic sowbug navigates the environment based on two types of vectors, orientation and progression, that are computed from the values of sensors perceiving stimuli. Our experiments on both simulation and real robot proved the legitimacy of Tolman's assumptions, and the potential of applying the schematic sowbug model and principles within modern robotics is recognized.

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