Crash Course

Cook bicycle path 1

What is this? It’s the history of 800 successive unsteered bicycles, each traveling from left to right until it falls over. Caltech computer scientist Matthew Cook modeled the behavior in 2004, hoping to learn how we balance, steer, and correct our paths on two wheels. He found that just two artificial neurons were enough to control a bicycle competently — the system even learned to thread a series of waypoints:

Cook bicycle path 2

(Matthew Cook, “It Takes Two Neurons to Ride a Bicycle,” Demonstration at NIPS 4, 2004.) (Thanks, Dan.)