Some idiotic scientists at Reading University have developed a robot that is controlled by rat brain cells. Run for your life!
The neurons are now being taught to steer the robot around obstacles and avoid the walls of the small pen in which it is kept. By studying what happens to the neurons as they learn its creators hope to reveal how memories are laid down.
As the cells are living tissue, they are kept separate from the robot in a temperature-controlled cabinet in a container pitted with electrodes. Signals are passed to and from the robot via Bluetooth short-range radio.
The brain cells have been taught how to control the robot's movements so it can steer round obstacles and the next step, say its creators, is to get it to recognize its surroundings.
Apparently they then plan to disrupt the memories in an attempt to recreate Alzheimer's and Parkinson's like conditions. Now I'm all for the better understanding and curing of disease, but please, for the love of the human race, please be careful you crazy assholes! One time my mom found a rat in the basement and it was my job to try to beat it to death with a broom. You know what it did? The little f***er bit me. Now if he had been controlling a BigDog, I'd have been a goner. Just saying, have you ever seen The Matrix? I haven't, is it worth renting?
Hit the jump for a short video of the rat-brained robot in action.
Rat-brain robot aids memory studies [bbcnews]
Thanks to Dave, Herb, Martin, and Alex, all of whom are smart enough to realize this is not a good idea.