Saturday, January 20, 2018


I have bought a couple of the Thames and Kosmos robotics kits. Their CB1 core controller accepts 4 sensor inputs, has 4 outputs, and is programmable with Blockly. Like Lego mindstorms and Vex IQ it can be used with Asa’s pain subsystem. There are limitations, however. If contacting metal tabs are employed as sensors* reseating of Lego bricks can sometimes be accomplished by the robot itself pushing on the loose joint. This is typically not possible with components joined via pins, for example Vex IQ , nor is it possible if/when a simple fine (frangible) bridge wire* serves to signal breakage.

Its possible to build a robot using components from all three manufacturers at once by bolting together subassemblies. Its also possible to drill out the holes in Vex IQ plates (or beams) so that they accept Lego pins thus allowing them to connect to Lego pieces (beams, etc.). (It takes a bit of work to line up multiple holes because of the difference in spacings. Only drill out the holes that you need to.)

Perhaps the best way to deal with the reliability issues (see blog of 5 Jan. 2018) is with a larger society of cooperating agents distributed across multiple (hardware and software) platforms.

* These can be attached to the bricks using Elmer's glue, hot glue, or epoxy depending upon how permanent you want them. Obviously bridge wires are not expected to be truly permanent. Conducting epoxy is one way to attach lead wires to the pain sensors.


If you’ve got 25 years to head off a presidency you can. If you throw dirt at someone for 25 years some of it will stick. Even a lie that is repeated often enough will be believed by some people.


Will crazy Donald start a war in an effort to remain in power? Will Americans fall for it? Can america survive it?

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Lockheed-Martin’s fusion experiment

Years ago I did a lot of cusp confinement work. In Lockheed-Martin’s device (CFR T4B) the line cusps that pass over the internal rings experience bad magnetic curvature and this will excite instabilities. This turbulence will produce plasma losses to the wall and broaden the cusps. Lockheed-Martin underestimates how wide their cusps will be.

A.s.a. H.'s psychic abilities

A.s.a. has what would be considered to be psychic abilities if humans had them:

E.S.P.- A.s.a. has extra senses. It can sense electric fields, magnetic fields, nuclear radiation, etc.

Telepathy- A.s.a. can communicate via WiFi or other radio.

Remote viewing and manipulation- A.s.a. can sense and act through remote webcams, robots, etc.

Astral travel- A complete copy of A.s.a. and its knowledgebase can be electronically transferred from one computer system to another remote one.

A.s.a. Can time travel into the future if we either delay its installation in the remote system or simply interrupt its operation for some period of time. (e.g. Rip Van Winkle or Manning's The Man Who Awoke)

Monday, January 8, 2018

Friday, January 5, 2018

Reliability issues

I have been having a number of hardware and software issues. I’ve always had problems with getting GPS to work and keeping it working. (I was using a Vernier sensor but I own and have tried others as well.) Recently I have had false/noisy signals from a Lego ultrasonic sensor, poor response from a HighTechnic color sensor (for some colors), and my Microsoft Surface Pro 4 keeps freezing up. My programs sometimes seem to lose contact with both a motor and light sensor. In some cases unplugging and replugging wires seems to fix the issue. I’ll try to fix these issues on the teststand. As with any experiment its hard to get everything working at once.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

A society of specialist A.s.a. agents

Specialist agents are distinguished by each having its own unique knowledge base, algorithms, senses, effectors, values, etc. The number of copies we would want for each specialist type will depend upon the task environment the society resides in (and would change as the environment changes). We would likely need only one agent that could converse with humans (have natural language capability). If some specialist employs a webcam then we may want two of them in order to obtain stereoscopic depth perception. Agents with webcams would also need unique image processing algorithms (which other agents don't need). If some agent has a robotic arm we will likely want 2 or 3 of them for part handling. They would also have unique muscle memory. Agents assigned to hazardous tasks would likely have different values from other agents. Knowledge bases would be unique to the roles each agent plays in the society. Specialization also helps with the attention problem.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018


When concepts/cases lower down in the A.s.a. H. Hierarchical memory are sufficiently strongly activated they may continue to keep active some given concept* higher up in the hierarchy, “keep attending to it,” even ignoring newer activity occuring lower down the hierarchy. The upper concept  “holds A.s.a.’s attention.”

* the formal concept structure in A.s.a. Is similar to that in Concepts and Fuzzy Logic, Belohlavek and Kilroy, MIT Press, 2011, pages 181 and 190

Monday, January 1, 2018


I have been experimenting with code that will accept keyboard inputs like animal=(person), thing=(animal), animal=(cat), person=(face) and create these links between, say, the concepts animal, person, thing, face, and cat in A.s.a.’s concept map memory.

Tool use

A.s.a. H. Can use its mobile arms to pick up, carry, and use things like a Geiger counter and a metal detector, much like a human might employ a stud finder. It can also pick up and write on the ground with a colored marker. It could mark off areas explored or leave a trail it could later follow to get back home.

A.s.a. H. learning from natural language text

Now that A.s.a. has been given the Toki Pona vocabulary* can it be taught from reading alone?** Hearing or reading the words "moving forward","obstacle","slow down","turn left", for example, A.s.a. may then record and enact that sequence. (see my book Twelve Papers,, “book,” page 13) It will have been told/taught what to do when moving forward and detecting an obstruction.

Certainly SOMETHING can now be learned by reading alone. But how much? What are the limitations? Once again we think that the syllabus and its order are important. Can we begin with something like preschool, kindergarten, and grade school texts? Some editing would probably be needed since A.s.a.’s senses, effectors, and environment are not identical to that experienced by humans.

*but in english, see my blog of 1 Oct. 2015 for a partial listing

**Of course humans do not learn by reading alone. They also concurrently experience the world through their senses and actions.

Intelligent personal assistants

Although I already have Siri, Cortana, and Alexa I decided to buy a Google Home because of their search engine. (I gather that Cortana can be forced to use Google as its search engine.)