A robot with a real brain

Researchers have introduced the world to Gordon, the first robot that operates on real brain tissue, according to a linkurl:news release;http://www.reading.ac.uk/about/newsandevents/releases/PR16530.asp from University of Reading in the UK yesterday (August 13). The robot moves only under direction from his brain, which is a collection of 50,000-100,000 rat neurons. The researchers separated the neurons from rat fetuses, cultured them, and then spread them on a nutrient-rich array panel with 6

Andrea Gawrylewski
Aug 13, 2008
Researchers have introduced the world to Gordon, the first robot that operates on real brain tissue, according to a linkurl:news release;http://www.reading.ac.uk/about/newsandevents/releases/PR16530.asp from University of Reading in the UK yesterday (August 13). The robot moves only under direction from his brain, which is a collection of 50,000-100,000 rat neurons. The researchers separated the neurons from rat fetuses, cultured them, and then spread them on a nutrient-rich array panel with 60 electrodes. Within about 24 hours the neurons start sending out "feelers" to other neurons and making connections, linkurl:Kevin Warwick,;http://www.kevinwarwick.com/ one of Gordon's principle designers, told linkurl:Agence France-Presse.;http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=080813192458.ud84hj9h&show_article=1 "Within a week we get some spontaneous firings and brain-like activity," he added. The neurological firings signal Gordon's wheels to move and which direction to go. Sensors on the robot's surface trigger neuronal response, so that certain neurons fire as Gordon nears a wall, for example. Those neurons redirect the wheels to try and...
ading.ac.uk/about/newsandevents/releases/PR16530.asp from University of Reading in the UK yesterday (August 13). The robot moves only under direction from his brain, which is a collection of 50,000-100,000 rat neurons. The researchers separated the neurons from rat fetuses, cultured them, and then spread them on a nutrient-rich array panel with 60 electrodes. Within about 24 hours the neurons start sending out "feelers" to other neurons and making connections, linkurl:Kevin Warwick,;http://www.kevinwarwick.com/ one of Gordon's principle designers, told linkurl:Agence France-Presse.;http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=080813192458.ud84hj9h&show_article=1 "Within a week we get some spontaneous firings and brain-like activity," he added. The neurological firings signal Gordon's wheels to move and which direction to go. Sensors on the robot's surface trigger neuronal response, so that certain neurons fire as Gordon nears a wall, for example. Those neurons redirect the wheels to try and avoid the wall. In this way, the robot essentially learns how to avoid walls based on neuronal firings he detects. "This project gives us a really unique opportunity to look at something which may exhibit complex behaviors, but still remain closely tied to the activity of individual neurons," linkurl:Ben Whalley,;http://www.pharmacy.reading.ac.uk/staff/whalley_b.htm another researcher involved in the project, said in the release. Furthermore, rat and human neurons operate in a similar manner, Warwick told AFP. The biggest difference is the number of neurons: rats have about one million, humans 100 billion. The researchers' next step is to help Gordon boost his learning abilities by applying different signals to certain robot motions. As his learning progresses, the release added, the researchers hope to observe how memories are formed in the brain.

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