Showing posts with label robotics. Show all posts
Showing posts with label robotics. Show all posts

Sunday 14 August 2022

When a robotic cat can give joy and companionship as well as the real thing

This is a story about a woman who found joy in a robotic cat after the loss of her cat companion. And I think it points to some situations when robotic cats can perform a function which is superior to the real thing. The truth is that people can become attached to robotic pets that are sufficiently lifelike particularly if the person involved perhaps has intellectual disabilities or perhaps a head injury or they might be autistic or simply elderly with dementia of some kind.

RELATED: Reason why robotic cats and dogs are so successful with the right person.

Linda Williams with her robotic cat which pleases her
Linda Williams with her robotic cat which pleases her. Image: WIS 10.

Tri-Development Centre of Aiken County runs a program with a mission to provide, promote and coordinate community services in that county for individuals with "autism, head and spinal cord injuries and intellectual disabilities". South Carolina Department of Ageing runs a program to help people who are socially isolated. 

RELATED: Heartwarming story on how lifelike robotic cats help elderly patients.

Linda Williams has been provided with a robotic cat by the organisers of the Tri-Development Center. 

Linda said:

"She makes me feel good. I’m going to hold you up so they can see you."

The lead residential service provider in this program, Precious Green, said that she was happy that Linda Williams is happy with her robotic cat. Obviously, it is much easier for the organisers to take care of a robotic cat. 

There's none of the usual issues such as dealing with cat litter and feeding a cat. There is no possibility of cat scratching or biting. There is an instant connection between person and robotic cat which can be quite different to the real thing because it takes time for them to get used to strangers sometimes.

And under these circumstances it can work beautifully as Linda Williams loves her cat companion. There is, I feel, a place for these sorts of devices which provide companionship. 

It's a device on which a person can off load their need to love somebody or even something. It's a recipient of love and if the device makes the right sounds and is reasonably accurate in terms of appearance then it works. It should not be laughed at as some sort of ridiculous concept.

Sunday 16 May 2021

Understanding how cats walk using robotics

Japanese scientists at Osaka University have built a cat robot to help understand how cats walk in terms of neurology. I'm going to use their words verbatim from their video which is published below.

The walking mechanism of quadrupeds is still a mystery. Some of the neural mechanisms that control cat walking were discovered in animal experiments in the twentieth century. At present, however, experiments on animals are strictly restricted, making it difficult to investigate the mechanisms of living, moving animals. 

To understand how quadrupeds walk efficiently and stably, we have developed a quadruped robot to substitute for experimental animals. This robot has adaptable and powerful motors, and can reproduce the neuro-muscular dynamics calculated by the computer. When we reproduce the reflex circuit of a cat in each leg, the walking motion emerges from the interaction between the robot and the environment. 

The robot can reproduce animal experiments conducted in the past. Moreover, the robot allows for experiments that are difficult in animals, such as sudden nerve amputation while walking. Using the robot to explore reflex circuits that produce a stable gate, we discovered a circuit that includes a structure called the "reciprocal excitatory reflex between hip-knee extensors". 

We showed that cutting the reciprocal circuit makes the walking unstable, and that the reciprocal circuit produces a phenomenon called "prolongation of stance phase" as in cats. The results suggest that the reciprocal excitatory circuit is an important candidate for the reflex circuit that controls cat walking. In the future, as more robots substitute experimental animals, more researchers may be able to investigate animal mechanisms under a variety of experimental conditions.

Comment: I love it because any science which helps to avoid animal testing is great science as far as I am concerned. Animal testing should be completely banned. There should be, and indeed there are, alternatives. This is one example. Please let there be more going forward.

Linked: Cat Gait. -- Direct register cat gait.

Note: videos on this site are typically made by people other than me and held on YouTube servers or the servers of other businesses (not the server storing this website). Sometimes the videos are deleted at source which stops them working on this site. If that has happened, I apologise but I have no control over it.

Screenshot from video.

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