Cyborg Uses Rat Brain Cells to Control Robot

| 7 Oct 2010 20:13

Scientists have used a culture of rat brain cells to create an intelligent robot that learns over time ... how to destroy us all!

Our robot masters have decided to forgo years of research in pesky hardware processors and have elected instead to use biologic matter to further improve their artificial intelligence. The system devised by Kevin Warwick, a Professor of Cybernetics at the University of Reading, England, uses a culture of rat brain cells kept in a bell jar attached to electrodes, which then communicates wirelessly with a mechanical robot. These brain cells take electric impulses from sensors in the bot, process them, and communicate signals that confer movement in order to avoid obstacles. That's about all this cylon-progenitor can do right now, but the best part is that the rat neurons can form new connections. The robot learns, and becomes significantly better at controlling movement over the course of its lifecycle.

The problem that our dear sweet robot overlords have is that the rat brain cell cultures do not stay alive indefinitely. But Kevin Warwick is working hard on improving both their life expectancy and the amount of working cells. Right now, Warwick believes that out of the 100,000 neurons in the culture, only a very small number of them are responding to stimulus. He thinks that eventually he'll have cultures that are the size of small mammals brains.

Warwick was chosen by our robot master to work on this project because he is almost half robot himself. In 1998, he placed a chip in his body so that the doors of his office would open automatically with his passing. He also wired his arm with 100 electrodes so that he could remotely control a robotic hand. And with his wife wired up to a similar device, the Warwicks were the first humans to communicate completely through electronic signals sent via their nervous systems.

This guy has created the future. I can't wait to see more rat brain robots.

Source: Singularity Hub

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