Robots.Video: Rat-Brained Robot

Posted 14 Aug 2008 at 19:01 UTC by steve Share This

Ed Okerson was the first of many readers who sent links to a NewScientist story about the rat-brained robot from the Univserity of Reading. Instead of the usual silicon-based embedded controller, this robot sports a carbon-based unit made up of 300,000 rat brain neurons. The mini-brain lives in a jar of nutrients and antibiotics. A multi-electrode array (MEA) feeds sensor information into the brain and transports control signals out of the brain to the motors. Unfortunately, the brain is growing so bored that it's exhibiting bursts of seizure-like activity. "Like a creature with no limbs or senses, the cut-down brain is simply bursting out of boredom". While the rat brain may not be enjoying life much, the scientists are having a blast and suggest the research may help them understand Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, epilepsy, and other diseases caused by malfunctioning neurons. For more, see the BBC story and video, the Slashdot discussion, or original University of Reading press release. Update: Roland Piquepaille just posted about this robot as well.

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