Elmer and Elsie: Machina Speculatrix

It's always good to think about past instance of technological artifacts. For example, look at the two turtles created by Grey Walter. Also called "Machina Speculatrix", the turtles have an curious history:

Over fifty years ago W. Grey Walter started building three wheeled, turtle like, mobile robotic vehicles. These vehicles had a light sensor, touch sensor, propulsion motor, steering motor, and a two vacuum tube analog computer. Even with this simple design, Grey demonstrated that his turtles exhibited complex behaviors. He called his turtles Machina Speculatrix after their speculative tendency to explore their environment. The Adam and Eve of his robots were named Elmer and Elsie ( ELectro MEchanical Robots, Light Sensitive. ) (...) His robots were unique because, unlike the robotic creations that preceded them, they didn't have a fixed behavior. The robots had reflexes which, when combined with their environment, caused them to never exactly repeat the same actions twice. This emergent life-like behavior was an early form of what we now call Artificial Life.

Grey reported the robots path as follows:.

Why do I blog this? because these robots looks amazing for different reasons: (1) there not that zoomorphic (I don't believe the added value of a robot lies in the isomorphism with an animal), (2) the way the behavior of the robot works is based on an artifical intelligence model that I found more interesting than other devices).