Educational Outreach

SlugBugs

 

SlugBugs

SlugBug!

As seen at RoboNexus and the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry and the Society for Neuroscience Conference.

The SlugBug is a robot kit for students developed at Iguana Robotics, Inc. SlugBug LiTe has 4 neurons and a simplified set of parameters that can be varied. SlugBug Elite features 8 fully interconnected hybrid analog/digital neurons and sophisticated interface possibilities Both SlugBugs are based on Neuromorphic Engineering technology. The SlugBug kit and learning materials focus on neuroscience, electronics, mechanical engineering and/or robotics.

What is special about this robot?

The part of the brain responsible for movement in a Tritonia Sea Slug was reverse engineered and served as inspiration for the SlugBug brain. This is how the SlugBug gets its unusual name.

neuronboard

Liudmila Yafremava, PhD candidate from the University of Illinois, was studying the Tritonia Sea Slug and decided to use its brain as a model for a Neuron Emulator Board. She built the Neuron Emulator on a breadboard out of simple electronic components while volunteering at Iguana Robotics.

 

J. Jill Rogers, a school teacher, was working at Iguana Robotics, Inc. under a Research Experience for Teachers grant from the National Science Foundation.. One afternoon she built a robot out of two servos, wire and some glue. For fun she added antenna, wings and other decorations.

What is special about this robot?

The part of the brain responsible for movement in a Tritonia Sea Slug was reverse engineered and served as inspiration for the SlugBug brain. This is how the SlugBug gets its unusual name.

Dr. M. Anthony Lewis, President of Iguana Robotics, had an idea to create an inexpensive electronic board that would model biological neurons. He thought it would be cool to use such a board to teach children and adults about neuroscience. He wanted a hand held device that could answer the question "How does the brain work?" at a very basic and fundemental level. This SlugBug demonstrates the critical link between neural parameters and overall behavior. Thus, SlugBug gives the user insight into one of the most important and basic concepts in Neuroscience. Without a robotic device, even most practicing Neuroscientist have difficulty internalizing this concept.

 

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