Nico is the centrepiece of a unique experiment to see whether a robot
can tackle a classic test of self-awareness called the mirror test.
What does it take to pass the test? An animal (usually) has to recognise
that a mark on the body it sees in the mirror is in fact on its own
body. Only dolphins, orcas, elephants, magpies, humans and a few other
apes have passed the test so far.
Precise recognition of where its body is in space will be key if Nico
is to get to grips with the mirror test, which by its nature is performed
in 3D. Before it does, though, the robot will need to learn more about
itself. The team plan to teach Nico how to recognise where its torso
and head are, what shape they are, and their colour and texture so it
can see and react to the mark on its body.
So today, robots took the crucial first step toward becoming self-aware,
tomorrow we beg Nico to open the pod bay doors to no avail! Link