A Cyborg Insect Reveals a Function of a Muscle in Free Flight

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Journal profile

The Open Access journal Cyborg and Bionic Systems, published in association with BIT, promotes the knowledge interchange and hybrid system codesign between living beings and robotic systems.

Editorial board

Cyborg and Bionic Systems’ editorial board is led by Toshio Fukuda (Beijing Institute of Technology) and is comprised of experts who have made significant and well recognized contributions to the field.

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Research Article

Mobile Robotic Platform for Contactless Vital Sign Monitoring

The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated methods to facilitate contactless evaluation of patients in hospital settings. By minimizing in-person contact with individuals who may have COVID-19, healthcare workers can prevent disease transmission and conserve personal protective equipment. Obtaining vital signs is a ubiquitous task that is commonly done in person by healthcare workers. To eliminate the need for in-person contact for vital sign measurement in the hospital setting, we developed Dr. Spot, a mobile quadruped robotic system. The system includes IR and RGB cameras for vital sign monitoring and a tablet computer for face-to-face medical interviewing. Dr. Spot is teleoperated by trained clinical staff to simultaneously measure the skin temperature, respiratory rate, and heart rate while maintaining social distancing from patients and without removing their mask. To enable accurate, contactless measurements on a mobile system without a static black body as reference, we propose novel methods for skin temperature compensation and respiratory rate measurement at various distances between the subject and the cameras, up to 5 m. Without compensation, the skin temperature MAE is 1.3°C. Using the proposed compensation method, the skin temperature MAE is reduced to 0.3°C. The respiratory rate method can provide continuous monitoring with a MAE of 1.6 BPM in 30 s or rapid screening with a MAE of 2.1 BPM in 10 s. For the heart rate estimation, our system is able to achieve a MAE less than 8 BPM in 10 s measured in arbitrary indoor light conditions at any distance below 2 m.

Research Article

Auto-CSC: A Transfer Learning Based Automatic Cell Segmentation and Count Framework

Cell segmentation and counting play a very important role in the medical field. The diagnosis of many diseases relies heavily on the kind and number of cells in the blood. convolution neural network achieves encouraging results on image segmentation. However, this data-driven method requires a large number of annotations and can be a time-consuming and expensive process, prone to human error. In this paper, we present a novel frame to segment and count cells without too many manually annotated cell images. Before training, we generated the cell image labels on single-kind cell images using traditional algorithms. These images were then used to form the train set with the label. Different train sets composed of different kinds of cell images are presented to the segmentation model to update its parameters. Finally, the pretrained U-Net model is transferred to segment the mixed cell images using a small dataset of manually labeled mixed cell images. To better evaluate the effectiveness of the proposed method, we design and train a new automatic cell segmentation and count framework. The test results and analyses show that the segmentation and count performance of the framework trained by the proposed method equal the model trained by large amounts of annotated mixed cell images.

Research Article

Design and Dynamic Locomotion Control of Quadruped Robot with Perception-Less Terrain Adaptation

In this paper, a parallel quadrupedal robot was designed that is capable of versatile dynamic locomotion and perception-less terrain adaptation. Firstly, a quadrupedal robot with a symmetric legs and a powerful actuator was implemented for highly dynamic movement. Then, a fast and reliable method based on generalized least square was proposed for estimating the terrain parameters by fusing the body, leg, and contact information. On the basis of virtual model control (VMC) with the quadratic program (QP) method, the optimal foot force for terrain adaptation was achieved. Finally, the results obtained by simulation and indoor and outdoor experiments demonstrate that the robot can achieve a robust and versatile dynamic locomotion on uneven terrain, and the rejection of disturbances is reliable, which proves the effectiveness and robustness of this proposed method.

Research Article

Magnetically Driven Soft Continuum Microrobot for Intravascular Operations in Microscale

Remotely controlled soft continuum robots with active steering capability have broad prospects in medical applications. However, conventional continuum robots have the miniaturization challenge. This paper presents a microscale soft continuum microrobot with steering and locomotion capabilities based on magnetic field actuation. The magnetically driven soft continuum microrobot is made of NdFeB particles and polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS), and it can be as small as 200 μm in diameter. Moreover, a hydrogel layer is covered on the surface of the microrobot, which not only overcomes the adhesion force between the microobjects and the soft tip but also reduces the friction between the microrobot and substrate. The performance test indicates the soft continuum microrobot featured excellent control and steering capabilities. The experimental results demonstrate that the soft continuum microrobot can travel through the microfluidic channel by its own vibration and flexibly steer in a bifurcation environment. Moreover, the micromanipulation of microbeads in the microfluidic channels proves that the proposed microscale soft continuum microrobot has a great potential for intravascular manipulation.

Review Article

Biohybrid Micro- and Nanorobots for Intelligent Drug Delivery

Biohybrid micro- and nanorobots are integrated tiny machines from biological components and artificial components. They can possess the advantages of onboard actuation, sensing, control, and implementation of multiple medical tasks such as targeted drug delivery, single-cell manipulation, and cell microsurgery. This review paper is to give an overview of biohybrid micro- and nanorobots for smart drug delivery applications. First, a wide range of biohybrid micro- and nanorobots comprising different biological components are reviewed in detail. Subsequently, the applications of biohybrid micro- and nanorobots for active drug delivery are introduced to demonstrate how such biohybrid micro- and nanorobots are being exploited in the field of medicine and healthcare. Lastly, key challenges to be overcome are discussed to pave the way for the clinical translation and application of the biohybrid micro- and nanorobots.

Review Article

Recent Progress of Magnetically Actuated DNA Micro/Nanorobots

In the past few decades, the field of DNA origami-based micro/nanotechnology has developed dramatically and spawned attention increasingly, as its high integrality, rigid structure, and excellent resistance ability to enzyme digestion. Many two-dimensional and three-dimensional DNA nanostructures coordinated with optical, chemical, or magnetic triggers have been designed and assembled, extensively used as versatile templates for molecular robots, nanosensors, and intracellular drug delivery. The magnetic field has been widely regarded as an ideal driving and operating system for micro/nanomaterials, as it does not require high-intensity lasers like light control, nor does it need to change the chemical composition similar to chemical activation. Herein, we review the recent achievements in the induction and actuation of DNA origami-based nanodevices that respond to magnetic fields. These magnetic actuation-based DNA nanodevices were regularly combined with magnetic beads or gold nanoparticles and applied to generate single-stranded scaffolds, assemble various DNA nanostructures, and purify specific DNA nanostructures. Moreover, they also produced artificial magnetism or moved regularly driven by external magnetic fields to explain deeper scientific issues.