Researcher gives AIBO rat-like abilities

While the AIBO is certainly no slouch as it is, a researcher at the ITAM technical institute in Mexico City seems to think it still has plenty more to learn, particularly from rats. To that end, the institute's Alfredo Weitzenfeld recently gave the AIBO a brain transplant of sorts, ditching its quasi-canine instincts in favor of some "rat-inspired" control software he developed. The result, it seems, was quite effective, with the AIBO able to navigate a maze in a manner "remarkably similar" to real rats, including the ability to recognize places it had already visited and distinguish between locations that look alike. As NewScientist reports, the goal of the research is to increase robots' proficiency in simultaneous localization and mapping (or "SLAM"), which allows them to create maps of their surroundings while working out their location at the same time. In the meantime, it looks like a few poor robots will be suffering from a rather severe identity crisis.