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Androids: Build Your Own Lifelike Robots by Thomas Talbot, Bryan Bergeron

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CHAPTER 1Reflex Arc

You have the time and ability to focus on this page in part because you have reflexes—semiautonomous movements that you’re not consciously directing. And because most of your reflexes rely on neurons in your body and spinal chord, more of the neurons in your brain can be devoted to tasks such as reading as well as contemplating the answers to life, the universe, and everything. Androids and semiautonomous vehicles can and do benefit from reflexes as well to free up precious computational resources for higher tasks such as simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM).

In this chapter we’ll explore the basics of reflexes with the help of a pair of servos, a few sensors, and an Arduino microcontroller. After implementing a series ...

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