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‘Conscious’ robots powered by living nerve cells

The picture shows small robots with cells sealed like human brain cells and they think and walk like humans. Photo: Courtesy of Tokyo University

Tokyo: Japanese experts have created tiny robots based on human brain cells that think and decide to some extent like humans. They cross mazes and obstacles thanks to their electrical signals.

Scientists at the University of Tokyo have conducted many experiments on these robots and taught them how and when they travel without obstacles. Scientists worked hard to create laboratory-like cells, such as the human brain, which were then regularly connected to small computers. This technology has been dubbed ‘Physical Reservoir Computing’.

Neurons are our nerve cells that send signals from the brain to the whole body in the form of electrical signals.

These robots were then taught to cross maze-like obstacles to reach their target or reward, a black box of small lights.

In this game, when the robots went in the wrong direction or started colliding, the scientists sent them an electrical signal to get on their way. But not only that, the robot learned from the changing environment just like the human brain and got back on track.

This is the first time that robots have been taught with the help of real nerves, which will pave the way for self-solving machines that work like human thinking.

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