Robot that runs on rat brain cells


Scientists at the University of Reading have created a robot that runs not on microprocessors, but on brain cells extracted from a rat fetus. The robot is equipped with several sensors which stimulate the rat neurons whenever the robot approaches a wall; the response of the neurons then determines whether the robot avoids the wall or crashes into it. The truly fascinating bit is that the rat brain cells don’t automatically know how to respond to the stimuli from the sensors, but instead learn to respond appropriately through repeated stimuli.

No word yet on whether the scientists will teach the robot to sing “Despite all my rage / I am still just a brain in a vat”.

Comments

  1. JanezD says:

    One word: awsome!

  2. maltorax says:

    Speechless…

  3. skunk says:

    oh shit skynet begins!!!

  4. Odin says:

    I don’t think the cells are doing much more than providing electrical connections. The ultrasonic is putting out pulses that are probably carried through the brain cells to the motor controller.

  5. Nick says:

    This has got to be the coolest, most promising and completely unnerving thing i have seen all year long. The potential seems limitless and i am sure that this will be deemed unethical in about a few months time.

  6. RetepV says:

    Unnerving.

    “I don’t think the cells are doing much more than providing electrical connections.”

    That’s what they do in any body… :) It’s the amount of cells and the way they are structured, that makes the brain more than just a group of cells that respond to outside stimulii.

  7. Nightvid Cole says:

    This must be deemed unethical…this thing in the dish can THINK….oh yeah why aren’t more people getting solipsism syndrome from this? Presumably it is because you won’t believe that this even happened unless you attribute reality to the external world which includes the scientists that reported having done this…This philosophy feels like it’s going to make me go psychotic for a few days…PLease let’s stop this research until we can figure out how to make sure that this is able to find out that it is a brain in a vat (Or am I?)

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