Neuroscience is an intriguing branch of sciences that happens to deal with the brain and the nerves. It has been a booming field of interest for researchers and scientists. It promises to unlock a whole new universe (metaphorical universe) inside us to understand.
One of the many applications of neuroscience is in Robotics which is interestingly known as Neurobiotics. It is simply harnessing the usability of our intricate mechanisms to create embodied autonomous neural systems.
Robotics and neuroscience discoveries have aided the development of artificial intelligence and, as a result, robotic technology. Artificial intelligence, models, and computational theories of human cognition, perception, motivation, brain models, artificial neural nets, and neural computing are multidisciplinary research. Let’s look at them one by one.
Biological Robots from Neuroscience
You must have heard of realistic Artificial Intelligence. In some sci-fi movies, they are portrayed to be very advanced. They can somehow imitate human behaviour and help in giving the user an interactive experience. Now, biological robots can be inside flesh and perform almost all human tasks. Cultured neural networks are used to research brain development or neural connections. These usually comprise a neural culture grown atop a multielectrode array (MEA), which can record brain activity and stimulate the tissue. In certain circumstances, the MEA is attached to a computer that displays a simulated world to the brain tissue, converts brain activity into actions in the simulation, and gives sensory input.
Artificial Intelligence and Neural Networks
Artificial intelligence (AI) is a vast multidisciplinary field that has benefited many disciplines, including computer science, psychology, philosophy, neurology, mathematics, mechanical engineering, linguistics, and cybernetics. The primary goal of AI is to create and manufacture automated systems (computer programs and machines) that perform tasks that need intelligent behaviour. Artificial intelligence researchers provide the sets of instructions that allow devices to fulfil all of these tasks. Until recently, most artificial intelligence researchers didn’t care whether the machine adopted human tactics as long as it accomplished what it was meant to do. The success of computers in completing tasks frequently condemns people to humiliation.
This brings up the image of the bleak realities of a robotically enhanced world that are shown in science-fictional books and movies.
Neuromorphic Engineering And Its Applications
The motivation for neuromorphic engineering comes from what we know about the structure and functioning of the brain. Even though there are many unknowns about the brain and its functioning, neuromorphic engineering uses what we know to create computer systems. The work has focused chiefly on mimicking biological computation’s analogue nature and the role of neurons in cognition. Neuromorphic engineering deals with how the morphology of individual neurons, circuits, applications, and overall architectures creates desirable computations, incorporates learning and development, and facilitates evolutionary change. Neuromorphic engineering is an interdisciplinary field that draws on artificial neural systems like vision systems, head-eye systems, auditory processors, etc inspired by biological nervous systems.
Interestingly enough, a research project called The Human Brain Project has implications for neuromorphic engineering. It seeks to mimic a whole human brain in a supercomputer using biological data. It is being conducted by researchers of neuroscientists, medicine, and computing.
Cognitive Robotics and Neuro-Engineering
Cognitive robotics is a multidisciplinary area that combines robotics, artificial intelligence, and neuroscience to create robots. These robots can perceive their surroundings through many senses, plan motions, predict the outcomes of their actions and the actions of other agents, and learn.
These robots can collaborate and interact with people in medical, agriculture, and industrial automation. Many scientists employ neuroscience ideas to better robot design and control, as well as using robots to investigate neuroscience. In contrast to more standard Artificial Intelligence methodologies, cognitive robotics regards animal cognition as a beginning point for creating automated information processing. Perception processing, attention allocation, anticipation, planning, complicated motor coordination, reasoning about other agents, and maybe even reasoning about their mental states are among the cognitive qualities targeted by robots. The behavior of intelligent agents in the physical environment is embodied by robotic cognition. The robot must eventually be able to act in the actual world.
What is the Future of This Field?
Neuroscience is indeed an insightful branch of study for researchers. It has the potential to unlock the great mysteries of the universe, like the origin of consciousness. To do so, the field of robotics would prove to be beneficial. Humanoid robots are rapidly becoming a reality. That future, in which robots cohabit with humans, strolling about us, thinking like us, and copying us, is not far away. They will also be able to do tasks that were previously solely available to humans. This means that the discipline of neurology will thrive. It will provide a new opportunity for neuroscientists to gain a better understanding of the puzzling human brain.
Beigh SK, Shafi H (2017) Us and Them: Robotics and Cognitive Neuroscience. J Neurol Neurosci. Vol.8 No.S4:230 doi:10.21767/2171-6625.1000230
Hiroki Tamura, Shangce Gao, Qixin Cao, Chuntao Leng, Hui Yu, Harold Szu, “Robot and Neuroscience Technology: Computational and Engineering Approaches in Medicine”, Computational Intelligence and Neuroscience, vol. 2016, Article ID 5204510, 1 page, 2016. https://doi.org/10.1155/2016/5204510