Novelty-based evolutionary design of morphing underwater robots

Francesco Corucci, Marcello Calisti, Helmut Hauser, Cecilia Laschi

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference Contribution (Conference Proceeding)

30 Citations (Scopus)


Recent developments in robotics demonstrated that bioinspiration and embodiement are powerful tools to achieve robust behavior in presence of little control. In this context morphological design is usually performed by humans, following a set of heuristic principles: in general this can be limiting, both from an engineering and an artificial life perspectives. In this work we thus suggest a different approach, leveraging evolutionary techniques. The case study is the one of improving the locomotion capabilities of an existing bioinspired robot. First, we explore the behavior space of the robot to discover a number of qualitatively different morphology-enabled behaviors, from whose analysis design indications are gained. The suitability of novelty search - a recent open-ended evolutionary algorithm - for this intended purpose is demonstrated. Second, we show how it is possible to condense such behaviors into a reconfigurable robot capable of online morphological adaptation (morphosis, morphing). Examples of successful morphing are demonstrated, in which changing just one morphological parameter entails a dramatic change in the behavior: this is promising for a future robot design. The approach here adopted represents a novel computed-aided, bioinspired, design paradigm, merging human and artificial creativity. This may result in interesting implications also for artificial life, having the potential to contribute in exploring underwater locomotion "as-it-could-be".

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGECCO 2015 - Proceedings of the 2015 Genetic and Evolutionary Computation Conference
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery (ACM)
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)9781450334723
Publication statusPublished - 11 Jul 2015
Event16th Genetic and Evolutionary Computation Conference, GECCO 2015 - Madrid, Spain
Duration: 11 Jul 201515 Jul 2015


Conference16th Genetic and Evolutionary Computation Conference, GECCO 2015


  • Artificial life
  • Computer aided/automated design
  • Evolutionary robotics
  • Genetic algorithms
  • Morphogenesis


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