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Accepted Contribution:

Technoscience and anthropocentric bias: case of biohybrid robotics  
Sergey Astakhov (University of Southampton) Rafael Mestre (University of Southampton)

Short abstract:

This paper introduces the concept of a 'fragmentary frontier' to describe biohybrid research as a new paradigm in robotics and analyzes several models of biohybrid robots to demonstrate how recent progress in this field can be interpreted through the lens of science and technology studies.

Long abstract:

The future of AI and robotics depends not only on achieving human-level intelligence and motor skills but also on creating diverse nonhuman entities to address current challenges. In this paper, we would like to explore one of the most cutting-edge technologies that produce such machines — biohybrid robotics.

Biohybrid research is a new paradigm in robotics that explores the integration of biological entities with artificial materials, aiming to enhance performance or achieve unique features beyond the capabilities of traditional materials. It emerged at the intersection of bioengineering, materials science, and robotics. The ambition was to combine the advantages of living tissues—such as dynamic response to the environment, silent operation, and self-healing abilities—with the level of control possible for artificial components. Some of the most renowned hybrids include an artificial stingray, a jellyfish, spermbots, and xenobots derived from the cells of the African clawed frog.

We introduce the concept of a 'fragmentary frontier' to describe biohybrid robotics as a form of technoscience. Currently, biohybrid roboticists are focused on the manifold problems of mobility on a micro- and nano-scale. But in the future, this new branch of robotics will deal with such issues as sensing, energy generation, and self-replicating. What is more important, these issues will be conceptualized without anthropocentric bias since most of the biobots have nothing to do with human physiology. This paper will demonstrate how recent progress in biohybrid robotics is related to the developing agenda of science and technology studies.

Combined Format Open Panel P272
Making and doing relationships with AI, cyborgs, robots
  Session 1 Friday 19 July, 2024, -