Simultaneous design method of the sensory morphology and controller of mobile robots

Komei Sugiura, Hiroshi Kawakami, Osamu Katai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper proposes a method that automatically designs the sensory morphology of a mobile robot. The proposed method employs two types of adaptations -ontogenetic and phylogenetic- to optimize the sensory morphology of the robot. In ontogenetic adaptation, reinforcement learning searches for the optimal policy which is highly dependent on the sensory morphology. In phylogenetic adaptation, a genetic algorithm is used to select morphologies with which the robot can learn tasks faster. Our proposed method is applied to the design of the sensory morphology of a line-following robot. We carried out simulation experiments to compare the design solution with a hand-coded robot. The results of the experiments revealed that our robot outperforms a hand-coded robot in terms of the line-following accuracy and learning speed, although our robot has fewer sensors than the hand-coded one. We also manufactured a physical robot using the design solution. The experimental results revealed that this physical robot uses its morphology effectively and outperforms the hand-coded robot.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)20+1154-1161
JournalIEEJ Transactions on Electronics, Information and Systems
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Ecological balance
  • Embodiment
  • Learning and evolution
  • Sensor evolution

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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