Biomimetic file 118: Scientists Put A Worm’s Mind Into A Robot’s Body

Scientists Put A Worm’s Mind Into A Robot’s Body

extra_large-1464360687-264-scientists-put-a-worm-s-mind-into-a-robot-s-bodyPicture source: Heiti Paves / Shutterstock

Highlight: “Beneath the skin of a simple worm with transparent skin, there are 302 neurons that have been mapped meticulously by researchers in what is known as a connectome. This tiny, one millimeter-long worm has been studied in laboratories around the world, and now it’s nervous system has been transplanted into the body of a Mindstorms EV3 robot.”

Insight: While it may seem like science fiction, we are actually not that far away from being able to transplant a brain into a robot with the benefits and deep ethical implications that this would have on humanity. Almost every week in the news we hear about breakthroughs in human bionics whereby artificial arms or legs are controlled by the mind not to mention the very rapid progress in robotics well illustrated by the Google own Boston Dynamics and their remarkable animal-like robots.

Simple life forms such as worms, which have been on Earth for a very long time, can teach us a lot in terms of adaptability and artificial intelligence development. While a lot of efforts are put into technological developments to find solutions to mounting environmental problems, species such as simple earthworms can actually easily be cultivated to provide valuable ecosystem services much needed by modern societies. A good example would be vermi-composting and its potential in food waste management through integrated close loop systems.

Urban Sustainable development strategies should not overlook the potential to work with living systems along with human inputs rather than a purely technological approach often favored. Another good example to illustrate the potential is the conventional reverse osmosis desalination process highly energy intensive (and thus costly) when in fact many species could do a lot of the desalination work effectively and at almost no cost.

We should learn to work with the ecosystems and their inhabiting species and to complement these valuable services with technology…

more information at: here

What is Biomimetics: the field of gaining inspiration from nature first to solve some of our most difficult challenges. Instead of coming up with our own solutions to a problematic, the odds are that species on the planet already offer an ultimate solution. This simple fact is also another strong case to preserve species at all cost as the intellectual heritage contained within or through the study of species is both irreplaceable and invaluable…

www.biodiversity.sg

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