15 Jun 2009

First Real Cyborg: A Robot Controlled By A Living Rat Brain

Do you really want a deadly robotic chassis being controlled by the brain of a rat? Scientists at University of Reading do. They've connected a biological "brain" made of rat neurons to a robot, with a two-way link.

It gets more demented: the robot is controlled via a Bluetooth connection — which means anybody with a cellphone can probably hack its little rat cortex — and the brain is kept inside a bell jar, just like Sylvia Plath's. The rat neurons can send instructions to the robot body, but they can also get signals back. And it has a personality, say researchers:

According to Kevin Warwick, one of the researchers, "It's quite funny - you get differences between the brains. This one is a bit boisterous and active, while we know another is not going to do what we want it to."

io9 (see the comments)

Quite sick!