• Both biologists are involved in further developing and enhancing walking robot Hector's software. The robot is modelled after a stick insect. How Hector walks and deals with obstacles in its path were first demonstrated at the end of 2014.
  • The researchers are investigating to what extent various higher level mental states, for example aspects of consciousness, may develop in Hector with this software -- even though these traits were not specifically built in to the robot beforehand. The researchers speak of "emergent" abilities, that is, capabilities that suddenly appear or emerge.
  • This new expanded software enables the robot to simulate "imagined behaviour" that may solve the problem: first, it looks for new solutions and evaluates whether this action makes sense, instead of just automatically completing a pre-determined operation. Being able to perform imagined actions is a central characteristic of a simple form of consciousness.

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