Scientists develop ‘mini-brains’ to help robots recognise pain & to self-repair
Using a brain-inspired approach, scientists from Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) have developed a way for robots to have artificial intelligence (AI) to recognise pain and to self-repair when damaged. The system has AI-enabled sensor nodes to process and respond to 'pain' arising from pressure exerted by a physical force. The system also allows the robot to detect and repair its own damage when minorly 'injured', without the need for human intervention.
Currently, robots use a network of sensors to generate information about their immediate environment. Today's sensors typically do not process information but send it to a single large, powerful, central processing unit where learning occurs. As a result, existing robots are usually heavily wired which results in delayed response times. They are also susceptible to damage that will require maintenance and repair, which can be long and costly.
The new NTU approach embeds AI into the network of sensor nodes, connected to multiple small, less-powerful, processing units, that act like 'mini-brains' distributed on the robotic skin. This means learning happens locally and the wiring requirements and response time for the robot are reduced five to ten times compared to conventional robots, say the scientists. Combining the system with a type of self-healing ion gel material means that the robots when damaged, can recover their mechanical functions without human intervention.
(Content and Image Courtesy: https://media.ntu.edu.sg/NewsReleases/Pages/newsdetail.aspx?news=3de93e4f-1f18-4ca4-87f4-a1f7d3e00e95&fbclid=IwAR3KE-SpxkwNDhN-w1O2T7MY_xAXnH4j0ZHrC2nrHdBkwWB6Qkf2e8lFGAY)