Rat Brain + Robot = Research

Researchers have created a robot, controlled by a rat brain, to help study memory and look into the causes behind some debilitating diseases.

The blob of nerves forming the brain of the robot was taken from the neural cortex in a rat foetus and then treated to dissolve the connections between individual neurons.

Sensory input from the sonar on the robot is piped to the blob of cells to help them form new connections that will aid the machine as it navigates around its pen.

The study has big implications, say the researchers.

The brain cells have been taught how to control the robot's movements so it can steer round obstacles and the next step, say its creators, is to get it to recognise its surroundings.

Once the robot can do this the researchers plan to disrupt the memories in a bid to recreate the gradual loss of mental faculties seen in diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.

Interesting stuff from the BBC.

Side note: When you watch the video, notice the volume bar. But these go to eleven!

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Ferrite9 years ago
That's crazy, I never knew that we had the technology to do anything like that. I wonder how they are "teaching" it to avoid obstacles.
Derin Ferrite9 years ago
they spray obstacles with rat poison,of course:P
when it is like that,you can only screw up once
Ferrite Derin9 years ago
That could ruin a lot of hard work.
Derin Ferrite9 years ago
nope,they would make spare rat brains,like a car computer:)
Ferrite Derin9 years ago
I guess they could, but they would have to re-teach it everything that it learned before they killed it.
Derin Ferrite9 years ago
That's funny. Actually, rat poison is really only effectivive if consumed (though if it touched it's brain, I'm sure it would work too). Rats actually have an instinct that makes most poisons largely ineffective against them. Any new food item they come across they only take very small bites out of, then they wait to see if it makes them sick before eating the rest. In this way they avoid consuming lethal doses, and build a tolerance to the poisons they are exposed to. Interesting critters, rats.
Can it be qualified as artificial intelligence or more as a prosthesis for a rat's brain? Is the rat really controlling the robot and avoiding obstacle or simply it moving randomly? Can it be done DIY style?
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