A team of Israeli researchers created the world's first robot that uses the ear of a dead locust to hear sounds. The method called Ear-on-a-Chip aims to provide a durable sensory device in the experiment.
What's Amazing with this Hybrid Robot?
According to a Stacy Liberatore report of Daily Mail, the researchers from Tel Aviv University constructed a hybrid robot, which they call 'Ear-bot. The dead locust ear is extracted and put into the robot so it can act as an electronic microphone. It also triggers impulses in the mechanical subject to move and interpret what it hears from the environment in the form of electrical signals.
For example, when the robot hears two claps, it will move backward. For Dr. Ben M. Maoz, one of the authors of the research, the team aims to see the comparison of the hearing capabilities of the robot to other forms of technologies since the auditory sense is much easier to study than its olfactory counterpart.
The team also wants to comprehend what lies beyond the insect's sensory parts, which can be incorporated into some machines.
The Goal of the Research
According to Maoz, the team has been looking for an alternative to the electronic microphone, and when they figured out that an insect's ear is capable, they tested it using a special chip.
The inserted chip to the robot can now convert the signals that the insect hears, and they will be interpreted afterward by the machine. The researchers made sure that they need to remove the ear by cutting it carefully.
"Over the course of hundreds of millions of years of evolution, insects have developed ingeniously simple but sensitive sensors, which are small, lightweight, adaptable to extremely varied environments, characterized by low power consumption, and surpass many man-made, artificial sensors," the study entitled "Ear-Bot: Locust Ear-on-a-Chip Bio-Hybrid Platform" reads in the MDPI site.
How The Researchers Created Ear-on-a-Chip?
To make this possible, the researchers first put the dead locust's ear, together with its nerve in aquatic terrain. This will help in the circulation of sound and air. It was followed by a network of custom-made electrodes that work like suction. This will now yield a microfluidic chip which will now be attached to the hybrid robot.
From there, the chip will now act like a normal microphone, where the ear and the robot, hence 'Ear-bot' was merged. The biotech robot will now interpret the audio through the chip like an actual mic.
When the locust ear detects sounds, it will transform them into electrical signals, which will be then transferred to the EMS (electrophysiological measuring system) and the controller and signal processing system (CSPS). Through these channels, the robot will now recognize the movement based on the number of applauses.
The study revealed that the ear, just like any ear, is sensitive to particular frequencies. This can also enable the bearer to respond depending on the sound that it hears. Maoz added that this replacement is more efficient since it is smaller compared to other biological ears.
Meanwhile, the researchers also stated that the experiment can be done using different senses like touch, sight, and smell.
They further exemplified that some animals have a keen sense of smell, like in the case of detecting drugs. In this instance, they could make a robot using a biological nose, which could help recognize criminals.
Apart from that, animals can also determine what type of disease a person has, while others can sense if there is an impending earthquake.
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Written by Joen Coronel