Researchers at Georgia Tech have developed a biologically inspired system to control cameras on board robots that simulate the Saccadic optokinetic system of the human eye. Its similarity to the muscular system of the human eye is uncanny.
Joshua Schultz, a Ph.D candidate, says that this system has been made possible in part to piezoelectric cellular actuator technology. Thanks to the actuators developed in their laboratory it is now possible to capture many of the characteristics associated with muscles of the human eye and its cellular structure.
The expectation is that the piezoelectric system could be used for future MRI-based surgery, furthering our ability to research and rehabilitate the human eye.
According to the video, Ecce Robot is a new paradigm in robotics. We don’t know if that’s true or not, but we really enjoy the drive system. They have mimicked the biological structures in humans using elastic cables and cheap drill motors as muscles. It is intriguing to watch the complexity that even a simple arm lift requires. This does show inefficient this type of set up is, but we still think it is cool. We don’t understand the desire to use cheap drill motors though. Cost aside, the control problem they mention seems like it could be resolved with a little better motor setup. Then again, we’re sure they thought of that. This seems like a perfect time to bring up a common question. Is it worth the inefficiency of trying to mimic our natural biological structures with hobby robotics pieces? What technology would have to be present to make it worth the complexity?