Special Issue on Biological Information Sensors
Professor, College of Science and Engineering Aoyama Gakuin University, 6-16-1 Chitosedai, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo, 157 Japan
Robot researchers are always aiming at expanding robot functions, but no doubt the foremost aim in the expansion of functions is learning ability. Without learning ability, it is impossible to cope with the environment which changes in million different ways. Speaking from the present level of knowledge, it will be impossible for a robot to approach anything close to a human being even in the year 2000. This time, let us lower our aim one step below the ideal level and look our eyes at reality, which encompasses biological information and sensors. A human hand is an excellent actuator as well as an excellent sensor. The functions as an actuator have a close interaction with the functions as a sensor, and through this interaction, many functions are recognized and actions are realized. Generally speaking, it is common knowledge that the operation of an actuator is assisted by sensor information in the form of feedback, but in thecase of a hand, there exist not only this form but also a reverse form, namely a form in which an actuator is used in order to realize the sensing function; in addition, a form in which these two forms are mixed also exists. Thus, the motion of a mere hand contains very complex elements. This special issue, as was the case with the issue of last year published in a similar fashion, is considered interesting in order to learn what topics have been created in the past year. Thanks are expressed to those authors who have contributed their papers to this issue.