Biorobotics usually refers to the study of:•Making robots that emulate and stimulateliving biological organisms mechanically or evenchemically•Application of biological ideas to addresstechnological problems•Application of robotics to solve problemsregarding biology and medicine
The most obvious aspect of Bioroboticsis biomimetics or biomimicry•Biomimicry is the examination of nature, itsmodels, systems, processes, and elementsto emulate or take inspiration in order todesign engineering systems or man-madedevices.
Examples:•The first design for an Airplane wasdesigned by observing the direction inwhich pigeons point their wings
•Hypodermic needles were inspired byobserving how snakes deliver poison throughtheir fangs
Passive cooling in sky scrapers was inspiredby observing how termite mounds are alwayskept around 90 degrees by opening andclosing vent like structures at the bottom andtop or the mounds
Belt movement of military tank was inspiredby observing the way a caterpillars moves.
Velcro fastening system were invented byobserving the latching nature of the burrsfrom the thistle plant
Hydrophobic coatings and paints wereinspired by observing the superhydrophobicnature of lotus leaves due to the microscopictips present on the surface of the leaves
Gas bombs of WWI were inspired by observingthe poisonous spray released by the beetle
Japanese bullet train was inspired byobserving the swooping movements of thekingfisher
Sports wear, ships and submarines designsreduce drag and friction by observing theshape and texture of the shark skin.
Surgical instrument-many are designed fromthe beaks of birds which have a very precisegrip i.e. strong enough to crack a nut but gentleenough to pick up small grains
Submarines design was improved byobserving the ability of deep sea creaturesto withstand high pressure
Inferometric modular display were designed bymimicking the way light reflects from thescales on a butterflys wing
Recently robots have been built usingbiomimicy, these are called BiomimeticRobots.Biomimetic robots borrow their structure andsenses from animals, such as birds or insects.Their abilities are copied from livingorganisms
As a result they tend to function better in theunpredictable real world than the controlledenvironment of a laboratory However, those robots do not completelycopy from animals, we usually extract onlytheir most useful abilities
With the rapid development of biology andcomputer technology, it is possible for usto clearly understand and imitate thebehaviors of many animals.Such as Birds, snakes, insects, amphibiansetc
Examples:A well-known earlybiomimetic robots were alobster.This model is establishedin the 1970s by JosephAyers, a biology professor
The actions of real lobsters have been reverse-engineered and programmed into a library ofactions which give the robotic lobster a similarbehavior as the real ones.They not only resemble its physical shape andmovements but the way its artificial nervoussystem responds to variable conditions in itsenvironment- such as temperature and heat.
Replicating the functions of small insects likemosquito or bee to fit into small spaces wherehumans cannot go.
Realistic-looking biomimetic fish are used toobserve ocean life without alarming marine lifeThey perform activities such as checking pollutionlevels, hazardous leaks from vessels andunderwater pipelines with the help of a built-inchemical sensor
•Snakes are one of the most successful creaturein the earth when it comes to competition forsurvival.•Have a unique body structure which is lean andlanky, soft and flexible
Mechanism of movement•Have the most unique manner of movementeven without limbs they can move on theground, swim in water or climb onto trees.
•We can take advantage of such characteristicsand design snakelike robots which can handle lotsof special tasks.
Robot with a biological brainThe brain consists of a collection of neuronscultured on a Multi Electrode Array (MEA).The MEA is a dish with approximately 60electrodes which pick up the electricalsignals generated by the cells. This is thenused to drive the movement of the robotThe robot has no additional control from ahuman or a computer, its sole means ofcontrol is from its own brain
This robot is used to examine how memoriesmanifest themselves in the brain, and how abrain stores specific pieces of data.It is also being used to study disorders of thebrain such as Alzheimers disease andParkinsons disease
Cockroach turned into fuel cellA cockroaches own body chemistry is used toproduce electricity which can power up tinydevicesWhen a cockroach eats it produces a sugar calledtrehalose, which is broken down by enzymes inthe cockroaches blood called haemolymph.
It takes several steps for different enzymes tofinish breaking down and converting sugar forfood, but in the last step, electrons arereleased.By tapping into the electrons through wiresinserted into its bodyand harnessingelectricity researchers were able to generateabout 60 microamperes of energy
Computer built from leech neuronsThe “leechulator” built from leech neuronscan perform simple addition and andsubtractionIt is able to come up with its own answereven when presented with partial informationdue to the ability of the neurons to maketheir own connections.
The neurons are harnessed in a petri dish byinserting micro-electrodes into them. Eachneuron has its own electrical activity andresponds in its own way to an electricalstimulus.These features can be used to make eachneuron represent a number. Calculations arethen performed by linking up the individualneurons.
Bionic arm controlled by thoughtFirst, the motor cortex in the brain (area thatcontrols voluntary muscle movements) is stillsending out control signals even if the armmuscles are no longer available for control.
second, when the arm is amputated , all of thenerves that once carried signals to that limb arenot removed. So if a persons arm is gone,there are working nerve stubs that end in theshoulder and simply have nowhere to send theirinformation
These nerves can be redirected to a workingmuscle group,so when the brain sends outnerves that should communicate with thehand,the signals end up in a working musclegroup instead of the no longer existing limb.This is called "targeted muscle reinnervationtechnology."
shoulder is dissected to access the nerve endingsthat control the movements of arm joints like theelbow, wrist and hand.Then, without damaging the nerves, they redirectthe endings to a working muscle group such asthe chest.It takes several months for the nerves to growinto those muscles and become fully integrated.
The end result is a redirection of controlsignals: The motor cortex sends out signalsfor the arm and hand through nerve passageways as it always did; but instead of thosesignals ending up at the shoulder, they endup at the chest.
To use those signals to control the bionic arm,the setup places electrodes on the surface of thechest muscles. Each electrode controls one of thesix motors that move the bionic arms joints.When a person thinks "open hand," the brainsends the "open hand" signal to the appropriatenerve, now newly located in the chest.
When the nerve ending receives the signal, thechest muscle its connected to contracts. Whenthe "open hand" chest muscle contracts, theelectrode on that muscle detects the activationand tells the motor controlling the bionic handto open. And since each nerve ending isintegrated into a different piece of chest muscle,a person wearing the bionic arm can move allsix motors simultaneously.
Bionic eye (artificial silicone retina) Normal vision begins when light enters and moves through the eye to strike specializedphotoreceptor (light-receiving) cells in the retina called rods and cones. These cells convert light signals to electric impulses that are sent to the optic nerve and the brain
Retinal diseases like age-related macular degeneration and retinitis pigmentosa destroy vision by annihilating these cells. With the artificial retina device, a miniature camera mounted in eyeglasses captures images and wirelessly sends the information to amicroprocessor (worn on a belt) that converts thedata to an electronic signal and transmits it to a receiver on the eye.
The receiver sends the signals through a tiny,thin cable to the microelectrode array,stimulating it to emit pulses. The artificial retinadevice thus bypasses defunct photoreceptor cellsand transmits electrical signals directly to theretina’s remaining viable cells.
The pulses travel to the optic nerve and,ultimately, to the brain, which perceives patternsof light and dark spots corresponding to theelectrodes stimulated. Patients learn to interpretthese visual patterns
Bionic earA cochlear implant works byusing special electronictechnologies to take the place ofnon-working parts in the innerear. Its designed to mimicnatural hearing.
1. Sound processor:Sound is picked up by a tiny microphone sensitiveto the direction from which sounds come. This letsit pick up more sounds from in front of the userand fewer from behind them. External soundprocessor captures sound and converts it intodigital signals.
2. Digital signals:The signals are sent across the skin to theinternal implant. This is done with technologysimilar to the way a radio station broadcastsits signal, but on a much smaller scale.
3. Electrode array:Internal implant converts signals intoelectrical energy, sending it to anelectrode array inside the cochlea.
4. Hearing nerve:Electrodes stimulate the hearing nerve,bypassing damaged hair cells, and the brainperceives signals as sound