Thursday, August 14, 2008

Robot with 300,000 rat neurons and brain functions

"..... the disembodied neurons are communicating, sending electrical signals to one another just as they do in a living creature. We know this because the network of neurons is connected at the base of the pot to 80 electrodes, and the voltages sparked by the neurons are displayed on a computer screen.

It's these spontaneous electrical patterns that researchers at the University of Reading in the UK want to harness to control a robot. If they can do so reliably, by stimulating the neurons with signals from sensors on the robot and using the neurons' response to get the robots to respond, they hope to gain insights into how brains function. Such insights might help in the treatment of conditions like Alzheimer's, Parkinson's disease and epilepsy.

"We're trying to understand what is going on inside this brain material that could have direct implications for human health," says Kevin Warwick, Reading's head of cybernetics, who is running the project with Hammond and Ben Whalley, both neuroscientists."

Full article in New Scientist Tech.