In the foundational cybernetics text, Design for a Brain, W. Ross Ashby introduces an adaptive system called the homeostat, and speculates about the possibility of creating a mobile homeostat “with its critical states set so that it seeks situations of high illumination.” Simulations demonstrate the viability of using the classic homeostat architecture to control a mobile robot demonstrating ultrastability in adapting to an environment where the goal is to stay within range of a single source of illumination. This paper explores a novel physical embodiment of Ashby’s classic homeostat in a mobile robot with three degrees of freedom (2 translational, 1 rotational). The hypothesis, borne out by tests, is that the topological configuration of the robot as determined by simulation, will carry over into the physical robot.
Battle, S. (2015, September). A mobile homeostat with three degrees of freedom. Paper presented at IMA Conference on Mathematics of Robotics