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Breedbot: an evolutionary robotics application in digital content

Orazio Miglino (Department of Relational Sciences “G.Iacono”, University of Naples “Federico II”, Naples, Italy and Laboratory of Autonomous Robotics and Artificial Life, Institute of Cognitive Sciences and Technologies, National Research Council, Rome, Italy)
Onofrio Gigliotta (Laboratory of Autonomous Robotics and Artificial Life, Institute of Cognitive Sciences and Technologies, National Research Council, Rome, Italy and Department of Psychology, University of Palermo, Palermo, Italy)
Michela Ponticorvo (Department of Relational Sciences “G.Iacono”, University of Naples “Federico II”, Naples, Italy)
Stefano Nolfi (Laboratory of Autonomous Robotics and Artificial Life, Institute of Cognitive Sciences and Technologies, National Research Council, Rome, Italy)

The Electronic Library

ISSN: 0264-0473

Article publication date: 6 June 2008

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to describe an integrated hardware/software system based on evolutionary robotics and its application in an edutainment context.

Design/methodology/approach

The system is based on a wide variety of artificial life techniques (artificial neural networks, genetic algorithms, user‐guided evolutionary design and evolutionary robotics). A user without any computer programming skill can determine the robot's behavior in two different ways: artificial breeding or artificial evolution. Breedbot has been used as a didactic tool in teaching evolutionary biology and as a “futuristic” toy by several science centers. The digital side of Breedbot can be downloaded on the web site: www.isl.unina.it/breedbot Findings – The results in this pilot study suggest that using Breedbot in an educational context can be useful to improve learning in biology.

Research limitations/implications

As this is a pilot study, one limitation is the small sample considered. The issue will be investigated further with a wider population and subject‐matter, which will also improve the Breedbot system.

Practical implications

These results suggest that tools like Breedbot could be introduced into biology curricula at schools.

Originality/value

The paper describes an original application in digital content and shows the importance of using such a tool in an Edutainment context. It is therefore interesting for teachers, vocational trainers and anyone involved in educational activities.

Keywords

Citation

Miglino, O., Gigliotta, O., Ponticorvo, M. and Nolfi, S. (2008), "Breedbot: an evolutionary robotics application in digital content", The Electronic Library, Vol. 26 No. 3, pp. 363-373. https://doi.org/10.1108/02640470810879509

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited