The term biorobotics refers to human-robot interaction. In this context, it is roughly synonymous with robotics and bioengineering.
In fact, it is a better translation of the Greek word “bios,” meaning life, and “robotics,” which means technology that replaces or augments physical abilities with virtual capabilities. However, some experts in artificial intelligence insist that it is not the application of robots to health care or agriculture but rather the agency of biological matter in mechanical systems that constitutes biorobotics.
Scientist Perspective on biorobotics
With the modern use of computers to model organic systems, it is arguable that biorobotics is just a type of bioengineering. Some scientists feel that applying mechanical controls to assist organic operations does not constitute true biorobotics. Instead, they propose defining it as devices controlled by biomaterials or hybridized with living cells.
Attempts at creating robots that exhibit the characteristics of living organisms date back to ancient Greece. Early automatons made of wood and leather were assembled to move like animals. Nearly two millennia later, Leonardo da Vinci designed ornithopters, which could fly like birds; submarines, which could swim like a fish; and even artificial humans with the ability to speak, eat, and bleed.
Modern biorobotics began in 1950 when Alan M. Turing published a paper entitled “Computing Machinery and Intelligence.” Although this paper focused on the intellectual capabilities of machines rather than their physical functions, contemporary thinkers viewed it as a starting point for a discussion on how machines might mimic human functions.
The first biorobots were mechanical devices that were moved by some power, such as a flywheel or a pneumatic cylinder. They could move about on their own and generally remained within a limited range of motion.
In the 1960s, engineers used microprocessors to control the movement of these robots, although they remained confined to their physical construction.
In 1969, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory sent a piece of bread across the Bay Bridge using a robot named “BREAD” programmed to follow a preprogrammed route.
In later years, engineers pursued more ambitious designs capable of performing more complex tasks, such as making complex decisions and learning from experience.
In 2003, a group of researchers at Idaho State University built a robot named “Antoine” that could move bricks through bricks and arrange them to form a floor. The robot was able to learn and use information from its surroundings.
Another team at the University of California at Berkeley developed an artificial reef of glass cube modules arranged in a pattern similar to coral reefs.
In 2005, engineers from European research center CEA-Leti began creating a robotic exoskeleton for physical rehabilitation called the “Pneubot.” The exoskeleton was designed to mimic the movements of arms and hands, allowing patients to perform physical skills that they used to do before they became paralyzed. In June 2007, an exoskeleton known as Dr. Robot was featured on the Discovery Channel’s show “Robot Revolution.”
Biorobots are often implanted with sensors to provide input. This input gives them the ability to receive information about their surroundings and respond appropriately. The most commonly used sensors include light, heat, magnetism, vibration, sound, and pressure sensors.
These sensors allow biorobots to respond to stimuli in the environment by moving toward or away from them. They can also help biorobots perform specific functions based on the information they obtain. For example, a biorobot can use a light sensor to tell when it is dark or running low on fuel.
Biorobots are designed to imitate living organisms or biological functions. They are capable of interpreting sensory data, storing information, and using it to make decisions. On the other hand, Biologically inspired robots are designed to use organic methods of locomotion or achieving tasks.
This does not exclude them from becoming intelligent; nevertheless, they do not strive to reproduce the same level of cognitive power as humans.
What is a cyborg?
Cyborgs are organisms with mechanical parts; therefore, biorobotics is closely related to this kind of technology.
Because of the varying nature of the term’s application in different areas, there is no consensus on what makes a cyborg.
Can biorobots be as smart as humans?
It is difficult to define the level of intelligence that a biorobot must have to qualify as a cyborg. It is possible, however, to simulate intelligent behavior.
In 2005, a Swiss research institute NCCR Robotics team developed a biorobot named “Kismet” that could solve mathematical problems and recognize objects.
The team added sensors and an infrared sensor that allowed the robot to detect the presence of other objects. By calculating the speed, altitude, and movement pattern of different objects, Kismet estimated their distance from it.
Why aren’t we making more biologically inspired robots?
Although scientists are currently modifying some of the functions of humans, there is no evidence that their work is meeting commercial demands. Most scientists agree that it will be many years before biorobots can meet human-level intelligence. However, they are useful for training animals and testing robot designs.
Due to this, more than half of all biorobot research is focused on their use for these tasks.
Are there any similar technologies?
Currently, sci-fi movies depict more advanced robots than any existing technology; however, most experts consider the idea unrealistic. Organic robots are typically not as sophisticated as those described in movies.
What is the scope of biorobotics?
Biorobotics research focuses on the application of engineering principles to the study of living organisms. This includes describing what is known about life, understanding how it works, and exploring how this knowledge can be applied to robotics.
What is the relationship between biorobotics and bioengineering?
Biorobotics, or biological robotics, is closely related to bioengineering. Bioengineers focus on using engineering principles to solve problems seen in biology; therefore, they must be familiar with engineering concepts such as control theory and mechanical engineering.
Bioengineers often work with scientists working on biorobotics projects because their work requires basic knowledge about biology. Biorobotics, on the other hand, focuses more on applying biological knowledge to robotics and engineering concepts.
Where can I learn more about biorobots?
The Society for Mechanism and Robotics (SMAI), a nonprofit organization created by roboticists, was formed in 1984 in France.
Since then, it has grown to include experts from all over the world. Society’s goal is to facilitate academic and educational exchanges between experts in engineering-related fields such as biorobotics and neuroscience.
In conclusion, biorobotics is a technology where scientists apply engineering principles to biology. Biorobots have been designed to have abilities similar to those of living organisms, such as mobility and limited intelligence.
In addition, they use energy from the environment. The development of bioinspired robots has many benefits for society, including improving medical treatment and physical rehabilitation, the development of new manufacturing technologies, and aid in environmental protection efforts.
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