"O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens."
The nervous system of an insect is almost infinitely more complex than our most sophisticated computer-driven robots. Robots can only solve the simplest problems. While an insect has no difficulty walking, a walking robot is limited to an uncluttered flat floor where it clumsily clanks about until something goes wrong.
Several years ago, an Indiana high school student had a better idea. He collected syringes for pistons and voltage converters from old computer printers, along with other spare parts. If he had assembled them and wired the result into his computer, he would have done well to produce the usual, clumsy robot walker. In an effort to build a better walking robot he wired crayfish nerve cells that control walking between the robot and his computer. If he were correct, his computer would act as the brain. The nerve cells would process the signal just as in a real animal, and his robot would walk more like a living creature. His success received national attention.
As a result of his success, researchers have built robot insects with simple computer-simulated neural networks like those in the crayfish nerve cell. The result has been robot bugs that walk much more like real insects, although not well enough to fool anyone.
Such is the excellence of the work of the Creator. A few cells from a crayfish's nervous system can do so much more than all of our most sophisticated computers and programs!
Notes: Elizabeth Pennisi. 1991. "Robots Go Buggy." Science News, Vol. 140, Nov. 30, pp. 361-363.
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