Robotics is not just fodder for fiction, despite the word being coined by Russian-born American sci-fi writer Isaac Asimov in his 1942 short story “Runaround.” The field has become multidisciplinary, borrowing from engineering, mathematics, computer science, and more recently, neuroscience. Researchers from these fields are trying to build better robots and also to better humanity through their use. In this supplement, researchers from across China and around the world discuss the latest challenges and advancements in their field. For many functions, such as grasping, vision, and memory, researchers are turning to neurobiology for inspiration. Building humanoid or anthropomorphic robots remains the ultimate goal, but since the robots’ memory and learning algorithms are patterned after the human brain, there is still much to learn about neurobiology before that goal is attained.
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