Professor of Computer Science and Engineering and Director of the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Rodney Brooks is best known for being the inventor of behavior based robotics, a method of robot design where more complex behaviors emerge from the interactions of simpler behaviors coded in tight feedback loops similar to biological reflexes. His insectoid robot Genghis, one of the earliest implementations of behavior based robotics, now resides in the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum.
Some papers: "Elephants Don't Play Chess", "Intelligence Without Representation", "Fast, Cheap and Out of Control: A Robot Invasion of the Solar System".
Brooks also appears in the movie/documentary "Fast, Cheap and Out of Control" which draws parallels between a wild animal trainer, a topiary gardener, a mole-rat specialist, and a robot scientist (Brooks).