HANS MORAVEC is a Principal Research Scientist in the Robotics Institute of Carnegie Mellon University. He has been thinking about machines thinking since he was a child in the 1950s, building his first robot, a construct of tin cans, batteries, lights and a motor, at age ten. In high school he won two science fair prizes for a light-following electronic turtle and a tape-controlled robot hand.
As an undergraduate he designed a computer to control fancier robots, and experimented with learning and automatic programming on commercial machines. During his master's work he built a small robot with whiskers and photoelectric eyes controlled by a minicomputer, and wrote a thesis on a computer language for artificial intelligence. He received a PhD from Stanford in 1980 for a TV-equipped robot, remote controlled by a large computer, that negotiated cluttered obstacle courses.
Since 1980 he has been director of the Carnegie Mellon University Mobile Robot Laboratory, birthplace of mobile robots deriving 3D spatial awareness from cameras, sonars, and other sensors.
His two books, Mind Children: The Future of Robot and Human Intelligence, and Robot: Mere Machine to Transcendent Mind, consider the future prospects for humans, robots and intelligence. He has published many papers in robotics, computer graphics, multiprocessors, space travel and other speculative areas.