Stanford and Seoul National University researchers have developed an artificial nervous system that could give prosthetic limbs or robots reflexes and the ability to sense touch.
Stanford and Seoul National University researchers have developed an artificial sensory nerve system that can activate the twitch reflex in a cockroach and identify letters in the Braille alphabet.
The work, reported May 31 in Science, is a step toward creating artificial skin for prosthetic limbs, to restore sensation to amputees and, perhaps, one day give robots some type of reflex capability.
“We take skin for granted but it’s a complex sensing, signaling and decision-making system,” said Zhenan Bao, a professor of chemical engineering and one of the senior authors. “This artificial sensory nerve system is a step toward making skin-like sensory neural networks for all sorts of applications.”
This milestone is part of Bao’s quest to mimic how skin can stretch, repair itself and, most remarkably, act like a smart sensory network that knows not only how to transmit pleasant sensations to the brain, but also when to order the muscles to react reflexively to make prompt decisions.
The new Science paper describes how the researchers constructed an artificial sensory nerve circuit that could be embedded in a future skin-like covering for neuro-prosthetic devices and soft robotics. This rudimentary artificial nerve circuit integrates three previously described components.
The first is a touch sensor that can detect even minuscule forces. This sensor sends signals through the second component – a flexible electronic neuron. The touch sensor and electronic neuron are improved versions of inventions previously reported by the Bao lab.
Sensory signals from these components stimulate the third component, an artificial synaptic transistor modeled after human synapses. The synaptic transistor is the brainchild of Tae-Woo Lee of Seoul National University, who spent his sabbatical year in Bao’s Stanford lab to initiate the collaborative work.
“Biological synapses can relay signals, and also store information to make simple decisions,” said Lee, who was a second senior author on the paper. “The synaptic transistor performs these functions in the artificial nerve circuit.”
Lee used a knee reflex as an example of how more-advanced artificial nerve circuits might one day be part of an artificial skin that would give prosthetic devices or robots both senses and reflexes.
In humans, when a sudden tap causes the knee muscles to stretch, certain sensors in those muscles send an impulse through a neuron. The neuron in turn sends a series of signals to the relevant synapses. The synaptic network recognizes the pattern of the sudden stretch and emits two signals simultaneously, one causing the knee muscles to contract reflexively and a second, less urgent signal to register the sensation in the brain.
Making it work
The new work has a long way to go before it reaches that level of complexity. But in the Science paper, the group describes how the electronic neuron delivered signals to the synaptic transistor, which was engineered in such a way that it learned to recognize and react to sensory inputs based on the intensity and frequency of low-power signals, just like a biological synapse.
The group members tested the ability of the system to both generate reflexes and sense touch.
In one test they hooked up their artificial nerve to a cockroach leg and applied tiny increments of pressure to their touch sensor. The electronic neuron converted the sensor signal into digital signals and relayed them through the synaptic transistor, causing the leg to twitch more or less vigorously as the pressure on the touch sensor increased or decreased.
They also showed that the artificial nerve could detect various touch sensations. In one experiment the artificial nerve was able to differentiate Braille letters. In another, they rolled a cylinder over the sensor in different directions and accurately detected the direction of the motion.
Bao’s graduate students Yeongin Kim and Alex Chortos, plus Wentao Xu, a researcher from Lee’s own lab, were also central to integrating the components into the functional artificial sensory nervous system.
The researchers say artificial nerve technology remains in its infancy. For instance, creating artificial skin coverings for prosthetic devices will require new devices to detect heat and other sensations, the ability to embed them into flexible circuits and then a way to interface all of this to the brain.
The group also hopes to create low-power, artificial sensor nets to cover robots, the idea being to make them more agile by providing some of the same feedback that humans derive from their skin.
Receive an email update when we add a new ARTIFICIAL NERVOUS SYSTEM article.
The Latest on: Artificial nervous system
via Google News
The Latest on: Artificial nervous system
- Neurostimulation Devices Market 2018: Industry Expected To Experience A Positive Growth Before 2025 on November 12, 2018 at 8:50 pm
Neurostimulation is a therapeutic activation of part of the nervous system using microelectrodes ... It serves as the key part of neural prosthetics for hearing aids, artificial vision, artificial lim... […]
- World’s most powerful artificial brain designed: Complete info on November 12, 2018 at 2:43 am
Biological neurons are basic brain cells present in the nervous system that communicate primarily by emitting ... electronic circuits to mimic these spikes in a machine. This artificial brain is uniqu... […]
- Artificial intelligence: Parking a car with only 12 neurons on October 23, 2018 at 8:00 am
Neural circuits from its nervous system were simulated on the computer ... Another advantage is that their internal dynamics can be understood - in contrast to standard artificial neural networks, whi... […]
- Robots Will Be Able to Feel Touch With This Artificial Nerve on June 5, 2018 at 9:12 am
The result is a simple but powerful multi-sensory artificial nervous system, ready to power our next generation of bio-robots. Current prosthetic devices are already pretty remarkable. They can read a ... […]
- An artificial nerve system developed at Stanford gives prosthetic devices and robots a sense of touch on May 31, 2018 at 11:16 am
Bao’s graduate students Yeongin Kim and Alex Chortos, plus Wentao Xu, a researcher from Lee’s own lab, were also central to integrating the components into the functional artificial sensory nervous sy... […]
- ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE — THE NEW NERVOUS SYSTEM FOR THE HEALTHCARE INDUSTRY on April 8, 2018 at 10:47 pm
The healthcare industry has been around for millennia. Although much has changed in the way it currently functions, it needs to transform into something better to serve the sick. To put it in simpler ... […]
- Huawei creates Smart City Nervous System for more than 100 cities with leading new ICT on November 22, 2017 at 4:00 pm
Huawei is participating in the Smart City Expo World Congress 2017 (SCEWC) in Barcelona under the theme of ‘Leading New ICT, Creating a Smart City Nervous System,” highlighting ... Internet of Things ... […]
- Artificial Intelligence: The New Nervous System for the Healthcare Industry on November 16, 2017 at 11:31 am
Insight for I&O leaders on deploying AIOps platforms to enhance performance monitoring today. Read the Guide. The healthcare industry has been around for millennia. Although much has changed in the wa... […]
- Huawei Creates a Smart City Nervous System for More Than 100 Cities with Leading New ICT on November 14, 2017 at 10:20 pm
Using new ICT including cloud computing, Big Data, Internet of Things (IoT), and Artificial Intelligence (AI), these ... which is powered by a nervous system. This Smart City nervous system comprises ... […]
via Bing News