September 28, 2011
Scientists Implant Robot Brain Into Rat
Just like right out of a Mary Shelley´s Frankenstein novel, Israeli researchers have created a robot brain in which they implanted into the skull of a rat with brain damage allowing it to function normally again.
Matti Mintz of Tel Aviv University in Israel worked with colleagues to build the rodent-sized artificial cerebellum consisting of a computer chip that is electrically wired into the rat´s brain with electrodes.
The team conditioned the rat to blink whenever it heard a tone to determine if the robot brain was functioning correctly. When the researchers disabled the rat´s cerebellum, however, the rat could no longer coordinate this behavior. Once the artificial brain was hooked up again, the rat went back to blinking whenever the tone was played.
“It´s proof of concept that we can record information from the brain, analyze it in a way similar to the biological network, and return it to the brain,” Mintz told NewScientist.
While the research is astounding, researchers say the days of having a full-on robotic brain implant are not likely to happen anytime soon.
The work was presented by Mintz at the Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence meeting in Cambridge, UK this month.
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