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Neurorobot Vision

Hey everyone, it’s Ilya again; if you remember me from last summer, I’m the octopus guy; otherwise, don’t worry, I’ll introduce myself again. I’m now a third year at UC Berkeley, studying Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, and this summer I’m tackling the problem of making a fun brain-themed neurorobot! (For more information on this project, check out our collaborator Chris Harris’s blog post here.)


I’m specifically focusing on making the neurorobot see like we do; recognizing colors, shapes, and even complex objects in its surroundings. Small problem, however; while a human’s brain talks like this, using constantly evolving neural spike trains:

Our computer talks a little bit more like this, with a digital pre-trained neural network:

So, unfortunately, a computer is a little bit harder to teach shapes to than a little kid, since it’s lacking all those beautiful neural pathways that nature has been working on for millions of years. Instead, we have to build those pathways ourselves. I feel a little like I’m playing a digital Frankenstein, trying to give my creation a brain.


Speaking of my creation, this is my handheld video retrieval unit, a wireless IP camera. It’s a stand-in for the final robot just so I have data to work with, and its name is Weird Duck:

So far I’m still working out the first basic problems of image recognition and localization (for the more tech minded I’m working with fast regional convolutional neural networks as seen in I hope to be able to post some cool updates soon, but in the meantime, I highly suggest checking out this video of me tracking a glue-stick using analysis of the probability distribution function of orange color in the live video:



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