Tutorial on Embodiment

Exercise solution

Theoretical Scheme: Insect case studies


How can we visualize these case studies in our theoretical scheme? Let us first look at the leg coordination in insect walking. A full scheme comes already into play. There are sensors involved (joint angles) and based on their values, the motor command is adapted in a primitive controller. However the point we wanted to illustrate was that only very simple controllers in individual legs are sufficient for a coordinated behavior of the creature. The global communication arises through the interaction with the environment. In particular, the insect capitalizes on the arrow labeled as "internal physical stimulation", since through its body, it can acquire information on the state the other legs are in (see Fig.

In the case study dealing with cockroaches climbing over obstacles, we have argued that it is not so much the controller that changes when the insect is faced with an obstacle, but it is mainly its morphology that is reconfigured and that allows it to climb over the obstacle. This is also depicted in Fig.


Fig. Simple control exploiting body dynamics and interaction with environment. Depicting the important features of the case studies. In leg coordination in insect walking, global communication between legs is established through the "internal physical stimulation"(arrow 1). Cockroaches are capable of climbing over obstacles largely due to the fact that they are able to reconfigure their mechanical/musculoskeletal system (arrow 2).