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The researchers from Stanford University and Seoul National University have developed an artificial nerve system that can not only sense differences in pressure but also read individual Braille letters. Better to say, they achieved to hook the artificial nerves up to the leg of a cockroach and make the limb twitch.
“We take skin for granted but it’s a complex sensing, signaling and decision-making system,” says Stanford’s Zhenan Bao, co-author of the paper published in Science and whose lab has been developing the system, in a statement. “This artificial sensory nerve system is a step toward making skin-like sensory neural networks for all sorts of applications.”
The team’s development; artificial nerve system is divided into some main components.
First, they took a sensor that can discover even the smallest of touches, and then connected this to a flexible electronic neuron.
These two components were finally linked to an artificial synaptic transistor. In the human body, synapses not only relay information but also can store this information and use it to make simple decisions.
“The synaptic transistor performs these functions in the artificial nerve circuit,” explains Tae-Woo Lee of Seoul National University, who first came up with the idea of the artificial synaptic transistor.
But it is not ended things there. They then managed to combine this technology with a biological system, using electrodes to connect the artificial synaptic transistor with the detached leg from a cockroach. When the team then touched the sensor, the electrical signals generated caused the insect’s leg to twitch and contract.
“Advances in such technology may one day help improve the lives of people with artificial limbs, as well as help inform the technology of future robots”, mentions IFLScience.