Bionic touch-sensing neural devices for artificial intelligence

Researchers developed a bionic artificial nerve mimicking the functions of the biological sensory neural system. The bio-inspired nerve could help develop smart prosthetics and socially intelligent robots.

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Jan 15, 2020
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    Humans have been working to "copy" the human senses to artificial limbs and robots. In the body, the mechanoreceptors can sense external mechanical stimulations, which are converted into receptor potentials and then are transmitted to the brain through nerve fibers for information judgment and action decision-making. Recently, researchers from Singapore and China have proposed a separate electrical double-layers structure that realizes the integrated bionic touch-sensing neural device for signal sensing, transmission, and recognition. The related research results were published in the internationally renowned journal Nature Communications under the title A Bioinspired Analogous Nerve Towards Artificial Intelligence. The researchers include Professor Yuanjin Zheng from Nanyang Technological University, Professor Hongliang Ren from National University of Singapore, Professor Cunzhi Liu from Beijing University of Chinese Medicine and Professor Yongtian Wang from Beijing Institute of Technology.

A bioinspired analogous nerve towards artificial intelligence

    The Researchers fixed two long paper substrates face-to-face, which were deposited with a conductive graphite film, to fabricate the separate electrical double-layers structure and thus, prepare a bionic prototype device. They found that the as-prepared device has the integrated functions of touch sensing, transmission, and recognition. To verify the feasibility of the device’s functions, the research team demonstrated the potential applications of this bionic device in human-computer interaction and artificial intelligence. Besides, they pointed out in the article that the bionic touch-sensing neural device is still progressing in the infancy stage, and many problems need to be urgently resolved to realize a realistic neural system.

    Imagine what will happen if bionic robots in the future have sensory nerve functions like humans or even more powerful ones? The bionic robots will feel the intensity from a handshake, be painful when being caught by the door, and perceive warmth by the hug from people. The scenes of these science fiction movies are getting closer to reality. 

Full text link: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-019-14214-x

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Xinqin Liao

Research Fellow, Nanyang Technological University

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