Recently, neuroscience and psychological studies have been rapidly revealed how human brains are generating the wide variety of human behaviors. However, the understating of the human brain mechanisms was not good enough to reproduce the similar mechanisms on artificial devices.
The goal of this research project is “Understanding brains by creating brains.” A human-sized 51-DOF humanoid robot “CBi (Computational Brain-interface)” with a height of 155 cm and a weight of 85 kg was developed. Simultaneously, the computational models of the brain mechanisms were explored and applied to the developed humanoid robot.
The research group succeeded to control lower-limb of the CBi by using monkey’s decoded brain activity. The decoded brain activity, when the monkey was walking on a treadmill, was transmitted over the internet from Duke University in the US to the experimental room of JST Computational Brain Project in Kyoto, Japan. The research group also worked on a baseball batting task by using the humanoid robot CBi. The human-like perceptual and motor skills, which can visually capture a thrown ball and hit the ball back with a bat while maintaining balance, were successfully demonstrated on CBi.
This research project was carried out jointly with Carnegie Mellon University in the US. The Japanese research group conducted neuroscience, cognitive, and psychological studies to understand human brain mechanisms that can generate adaptive human behaviors. By taking the outcomes from these studies into account, the Japanese group developed computational models of human brain functions. On the other hand, the US research group supported the development of the humanoid robot. The US group also developed learning algorithms and applied these to the humanoid robot for evaluating the proposed computational brain models in the real environment.
These outcomes from this research project can be expected to enhance the understanding of human brain functions and also provide useful insight to develop assistive devices to reconstruct walking abilities for patients and elderly people. Thus, these outcomes potentially contribute to support human daily activities.