I, Robot

5 ways robots and humans are becoming one

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If aliens landed on Earth, they might think our smartphones are an organ attached to our hands.

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That’s a fun hypothetical, but in reality, scientists are developing robots to be more integrated into the human body and mind than ever before.

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Here are 5 ways humans and robots are becoming one.

KAUST

1. Scientists are developing “electronic skin.” It could one day help with biological monitoring, or help people using prosthetic limbs with dexterity and reflexes.

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2. Researchers are improving brain-computer interface devices in people who suffer from paralysis by tweaking algorithms to work more like our brains.

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Adjustments like slowing the algorithm’s update frequency to once every 10 seconds seems to allow the brain to keep up, improving learning ability and memory of new physical movements.

In general, prosthetic limbs are designed with a pre-programmed set of movements which are based on the wearer's needs.

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3. But adaptive A.I. in artificial limbs could help people better adjust to the challenges of everyday life, like having to avoid a cat running across your path.

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Hedan Bai

4. Flexible robots inside our blood vessels could one day help track down tumors, and this light-sensing glove would enable scientists to track the movements of those tiny robots.

M. Santos and coauthors

5. Bite-sized robots could one day be employed by artists to create artistic masterpieces.

Read more innovation stories here.

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