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Scientists develop 'mini-brains' to help robots recognize pain and to self-repair!

OCT. 15, 2020

Using a brain-inspired approach, scientists have developed a way for robots to have the artificial intelligence (AI) to recognize pain and to self-repair when damaged.

AI-powered mini-brains have been developed by scientists at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, allowing robots to recognise pain and self-repair when hurt. The device is able to process and respond to pain arising from pressure exerted by a physical force, using AI-enabled sensor nodes. If a robot has slight damage, the device gives it the ability without human activity to repair itself.

This new technique embeds AI in the sensor node network. These are linked to many small, less efficient processing units, which act similarly to 'mini-brains' distributed on the skin of the robot. Learning takes place in a localised environment, and compared to conventional robots, the robot's wiring requirements and response time are reduced by five to ten times. The device also consists of a material for self-healing ion gel that enables the robot without human assistance to restore mechanical functions.

The team hopes to collaborate with industry partners and government research laboratories to expand their framework for larger-scale applications based on previous work involving neuromorphic electronics, such as using light-activated devices to identify objects.

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