The Future of Robotics Summit – Feeding the Body, Brain and Mind

By Massimiliano Versace | December 16, 2013

What will it take to get robots out of YouTube and into our day to day lives? Max Versace, Director of the Boston University Neuromorphics Lab, talks about the state of the art in robotic bodies, brains and minds.  He says that in just a few years, it will be robotic intelligence that will make the next leap forward.

In just a little more than 10 minutes, Dr. Versace presented the trends in a compelling presentation at the MassTLC Future of Robotics Summit on December 13, 2013. Watch the video and go on a journey to Mars and the brain of a mouse.

About Massimiliano Versace

Massimiliano Versace is co-founder and CEO of Neurala Inc. and founding Director of the Boston University Neuromorphics Lab. He is a pioneer in researching and bringing to market large scale, deep learning neural models that allow robots to interact and learn real-time in complex environments. He has authored approximately forty among journal articles, book chapters, and conference papers, holds several patents, and has been an invited speaker at dozens of academic and business meetings, research and national labs, and companies, including NASA, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Air Force Research Labs, Hewlett-Packard, iRobot, Qualcomm, Ericsson, BAE Systems, Mitsubishi, and Accenture, among others. His work has been featured in over thirty articles, news programs, and documentaries, including IEEE Spectrum, New Scientist, Geek Magazine, CNN, MSNBC and others. Massimiliano is a Fulbright scholar and holds two Ph.Ds: Experimental Psychology, University of Trieste, Italy; Cognitive and Neural Systems, Boston University, USA. He obtained his BS from University of Trieste, Italy.

8 Responses to The Future of Robotics Summit – Feeding the Body, Brain and Mind

  1. zeev says:

    wow. massimiliano. this was an amazingly honest talk . back to reality!

    youtube has done a great job of making everyone believe the world is filled with robots. no , it isn’t. the world is full of flying drones. and barely at that. the ‘trickle down’ effect of military technology to consumer is somewhat of a lie with respect to functioning robotics in society.

    however, the reality that scares people is that the progress you, kwabena boahem and others are making will be swept up and eventually made classified by the u.s. military.

    great talk. I wish the people at google would just give you a billion dollars instead of making foolish investmetns in boston dynamics in order to buy their way into government robot contracts. google is pursuing money and contracts for robots that will never be useful. they are wasting money on stupid glasses hoping the military will buy them. instead, they should be investing in fundamental research like bell labs used to do decades ago.

  2. Hi Zeev,

    thanks… a billion would be handy, from anybody really… I see Google’s move as not related to governmental contracts, as I do not think that that “small” of a revenue stream is worth their bother. Time will tell!


  3. zeev says:

    i thought this was one of the interesting neuro articles i’ve seen in a while

    i see so many neuroscience articles. that last few i really liked a few months ago was about efforts to redefine the importance of the network of glial cells in the brain . and the manner in which they may or may not participate in clearning neurological fluid in and out of the cell during sleep.

    It seems that if a computer chip is going to replicate brain function it will have to simulate the pruning and build out of connections no? and also—–won’t a proper neuromorphic chip be able to replicate sleep for the PURPOSE of sleep? we assume the purpose of sleep is now to clear the cell’s of waste proteins or other proteins overserved to exit the neuron while its sleeping—but the implication is that there is a housecleaning function in the behavior of the neuron on a physiological level. I can sense that silicon circuits perhaps wouldn’t need a housecleaning mode from a physics perspective, but perhaps they still need a simulated form of ‘down’ time in which some aspect of the network is being cleaned/pruned/consolidated in order to maximize or simply refine/reboot the efficiency of the network.

    of course, i’m speaking half out of my ass as i don’t know anything about neuromorphic chips other than lectures i’ve watched online by mr boahem and you and some people from europe.

  4. Peter Newman says:

    Great talk, Max, and great work from you and your team behind it. We’re as excited as you about the revolution that neuromorphic systems will enable.

  5. Zeev,

    sleep is important in our models… as you keep learning from the environment, synaptic weights get committed and you rapidly ran “out of memory” and your representations get more and more “spurious”. Think of learning, for instance, handwritten numbers: as you encounter tens of thousands of ways to write “7” and “1”, the neural representations of these numbers tend to converge and smear. We use learning as an off-line way to clear memories.


  6. Ibad says:

    Looking good. Love the terminator brain quip (how serious were you?). Hope they focus more on autonomous and fast Mars rovers and maybe self driving cars though!

  7. Ibad says:

    Max, what do you think of the Human Brain project? Do you think you’ll learn something valuable from them, or will their work be more useful to biology than AI?

  8. zeev says:

    massimo, this was interesting.

    i was wondering how simulations of circuitry could be applied to neuromorphic chip designing.

    i didn’t realize simulating newer chips was that complex!

    it’s worth taking a look at.

Leave a Reply

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>