16 August 2008

Robot with biological brain

Although the invisibility cloak may still be in the realm of the nano scale (billionths of a meter) and has not yet been developed to normal human perception size, the mechanical robot with the biological brain is here. This robot is a step towards the sci-fi images that you may be envisioning. Scientists have created a robot controlled by a biological brain made of rat neurons.

The robot, named Gordon, represents a remarkable bridging of the gap between biology and technology (bionics). Gordon’s brain is made up of some 300,000 neurons taken from the neural cortex of a rat fetus, which are contained in multi electrode array that packs 60 electrodes to pick up the signals generated by the cells and control the robot.

Research and work are now directed towards getting the robot to learn from its experience. Researchers aim at witnessing how memories manifest themselves in the brain when the robot revisits familiar places.

"This new research is tremendously exciting as firstly the biological brain controls its own moving robot body, and secondly it will enable us to investigate how the brain learns and memorizes its experiences," said the university's Kevin Warwick of the School of Systems Engineering. "This research will move our understanding forward of how brains work, and could have a profound effect on many areas of science and medicine."

Watch the video below (almost a min) of the rat-brain robot in action:



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