Despite advancements in technology, robotic sensors have fallen short of even the most inefficient human senses. But thanks to some unique experiments with insects and mold, this may soon change.
The first experiment uses slime mold to control facial expressions. Much like the average teenager, slime mold avoids light and has the ability to find the most efficient route to food. Scientists at Bristol Robotics Lab, have attached yellow slime mold to a robot head and used the slime’s natural tendencies to control facial expressions.
The second experiment uses moths to control a tracking ball. Researchers at the University of Tokyo, were able to control a wheeled robot with pheromones from a moth, giving the robot a sense of smell. The results were somewhat surprising, finding a dramatic increase in response time over conventional chemical sensors. This type of technology is currently being employed in chemical spill robots to improve clean up time.
What sparked our fire: The use of biomimicry to evolve robotic sensors.
What’s in store for tomorrow’s robotic sensory organs?