- Research Program Mentor
PhD Doctor of Philosophy
Neuroscience of perception and action, statistics, biology, experiment design and data analysis, technical writing, integrative / multi-disciplinary science
Evolution of body and brain in simulated Braitenberg vehicles
In this hypothetical project, we explore the process of evolution as it unfolds in a simulated environment, using Braitenberg vehicles (simple robots) as our "model organism". We discover how incredibly complex behaviors can arise from simple connections in the brain. We can ask questions like, What is the ideal body size in this environment? How many neurons is enough? Or even, can robots be superstitious? In this integrative project you would learn a bit from a variety of fields, such as psychology, neuroscience, physics, and modeling, and you will learn how to put it all together. Some coding experience is required, but no other special background is needed. Outcomes could include a web-based viewer to showcase the robots (or their brains) in action, or even a research paper addressing one of your questions!
History of the future
In this integrative project, we explore what (might) await us in the future. What predictions have previous authors made, and did they come true? What trends do you see? Where does it lead? Outcomes could include a chapter of a "history" book from the year 2100, an analysis of time travel movies, or a piece of art that expresses what effect these changes may have for life on Earth.
A new golden record
In 1977, NASA sent two spacecrafts, Voyagers I and II, into outer space in hopes that they may be recovered by intelligent life. If you had to create the record today in 2023, what messages would you include and why? Outcomes could include a visual artwork showcasing your design, audio or video of the messages themselves. This integrative project touches on physics, neuroscience, robotics, computing, and life.