The goal is to create a crude approximation of living neurons and to discover a neural network that is more effective than standard circuits and the standard programming used to control robots.
Pic 2 shows the first real world test of a soft robot arm that is controlled by robot neurons. To see a video and instructable on the robot you can go here: http://www.instructables.com/id/Soft-Robots-Make-An-Artificial-Muscle-Arm-And-Gri/
Step 1: Tinkertron Neural Network
The Tinkertron schematics were also made with this program.
Robot neurons can communicate with each other by serial or I2C protocols. They each have infrared LED's which can signal their status to the programmer or to other neurons with receivers. They also have any available input/output pins connected to header sockets which can be used to directly connect to any other neurons with 24 gauge wire.
Types of Neurons
At this point there are three main types of Tinkertron neurons:
1. Sensor neurons that interface with different sensors such as switches, compasses, infrared sensors, etc.
2. Master neurons that poll sensors, decide on responses and tell the actuator neurons what sequences of outputs to activate.
3. Activator neurons are all different. Each is designed to activate a stepper motor, regular motor, servo, LED's, or other device. They receive serial commands and do whatever the master neurons tell them to.
Each neuron has four header sockets at a diagonal that are used to program the Picaxe processors. Additional circuits such as memory, display, infrared receivers, or others, can be attached here.