Brain-Machine Interfaces

Brain-Machine Interfaces

Posted On: August 17, 2009
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Walk with me as we stroll through the seedy underbelly of robotics, traversing a creepy and darkly lit path. It’s all well and good to acknowledge the humanoid bots, service bots and rescue bots, but we can’t forget about the creepy side. I’m talking merging life with machine.

Like insects. They have an amazing vision system that puts current sensing technology to shame. Charles Higgins for example taps into the spinal cord of dragonflies to use them as powerful sensors for his robots. The picture above shows an earlier version of the robot with a moth used as a sensor in a closed-loop control system and a dragonfly.

Then there’s Steve Potter at the Laboratory for NeuroEngineering at Emory and Georgia Tech. His Hybrots (hybrid robots) are very fascinating. Rather than interfacing with existing animals, he grows neural circuits in Petri-dishes and hooks them up to the sensors and actuators of robots.

Is it cruel. Probably. But it is forwarding science and robotics. Is it creepy? Sure. But we can’t wait to see what the future holds for brain-machine interfaces.