Japanese scientists create ‘brain neuron’ robot that can ‘think’ like humans

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The combination of robotics and artificial intelligence is resulting in some intriguing creations. However, what happens when the aforementioned sciences are combined with bioengineering? Well, a group of Japanese scientists are attempting to work that out.

Japanese scientists engineer thinking brain robot

Reported by Newsround, researchers at the University of Tokyo have create a robot that can think like a human. The robot is not just powered by a traditional computer, but an additional sequence of brain-like nerves.

These lab-grown nerves are combined with the robot’s internal processor in a technique called "physical reservoir computing". This method seemingly allows the device to realistically think in a human-like way and learn from mistakes.

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Teaching through torture

Powered by its lab-grown brain neurons, the robot was tasked with a simple maze challenge. The simple maze consisted of a few objects blocking the way to the robot’s goal: some blinking LED lights.


When the experiment started,  the robot would seek around and constantly bump into objects. However, the robot quickly learned. Any time the robot collided with an object, the Japanese scientists would administer a nerve shock.

The scientists claim that the shock teaching did see an improvement in the robot’s pathfinding. This marks the first time that robots have been taught in a lifelike way. For example, scientists have used similar shock methods to “teach” animals.

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