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Robot Controlled By Human Brain Cells

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the rat-is-a-pig-is-a-boy dept.

Robotics 86

destinyland writes "There's a new experiment from the British researchers who created a robot controlled by cultured rat neurons. They're now using a line of human brain neurons to control robots. The neurons are placed onto a multi-electrode dish that registers the neurons' electric signals. 'Every time the robot nears an object, the electrodes generate signals to stimulate the brain. In response, the brain's output is used to drive the wheels of the robot left and right so that it avoids hitting objects. The robot has no additional control from a human or a computer — its sole means of control is from its own brain.'"

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Soviet (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29806557)

In Soviet Russia, the robot controls YOU!

Overlords (-1, Offtopic)

badran (973386) | more than 4 years ago | (#29806563)

I welcome our new human brained robot overlords.

I wasn't worried...at first. (2, Funny)

Adustust (1650351) | more than 4 years ago | (#29806581)

I always figured we'd be OK. Rats only attack if they're scared right? But people...oh God! Just what we need, a robot that thinks it'd be funny to be a zombie.

Could be worse (1)

Dareth (47614) | more than 4 years ago | (#29807151)

It could think it is funny to be a ninja!

But don't worry, the Pirates will take care of this robot either way.

Re:Could be worse (1)

Gilmoure (18428) | more than 4 years ago | (#29808407)

Better get some monkeys to take care of the pirates.

Re:Could be worse (1)

FreeFull (1043860) | more than 4 years ago | (#29810655)

Cyborg pirate monkeys. Now look what you have done! Our society will be overtaken by them.

Re:Could be worse (1)

PachmanP (881352) | more than 4 years ago | (#29819081)

Cyborg pirate monkeys. Now look what you have done! Our society will be overtaken by them.

No we'll be ok because when winter comes they'll all freeze.

Actually... (1)

garyisabusyguy (732330) | more than 4 years ago | (#29813321)

This would be a GREAT zombie decoy!

Smells like human brains, tastes like human brains, runs away to attract attention...

What more could the fragments of humanity hope for to save them from the impending global zombie domination?

Re:Actually... (1)

Nefarious Wheel (628136) | more than 4 years ago | (#29813919)

What more could the fragments of humanity hope for to save them from the impending global zombie domination?

Indeed! I think this is an EXCELLENT idea. EX... EX...

Hrmm.

- Davros

Re:I wasn't worried...at first. (1)

tinkertim (918832) | more than 4 years ago | (#29819749)

... unless the robot happens to be drunk. Think about it .. an army of drunk robots with lasers.

Karen Sjet (1, Funny)

gzipped_tar (1151931) | more than 4 years ago | (#29806585)

Is this the first step to building a Homeworld-style spaceship?

Re:Karen Sjet (1)

badran (973386) | more than 4 years ago | (#29806735)

Or Skynet.

Re:Karen Sjet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29807021)

Sarah Conner enters stage right.

bad summary? (4, Insightful)

Thornburg (264444) | more than 4 years ago | (#29806617)

Is it just me, or do the video and article both CLEARLY state that it's rat brain cells, not human brain cells?

Re:bad summary? (4, Insightful)

Hitman_Frost (798840) | more than 4 years ago | (#29806647)

Blame Kevin Warwick.

He's always exaggerating his claims, including his "I'm a cyborg" nonsense.

Re:bad summary? (1)

Atriqus (826899) | more than 4 years ago | (#29806717)

The summary sounded like his work. Thanks for the heads up; not going to bother with TFA.

Re:bad summary? (5, Insightful)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 4 years ago | (#29806745)

Aaaah... "Captain Cyborg [google.co.uk] "! I can't believe this chap (or robochap as he'd describe himself) is still getting funding for his joke research. I guess Reading University don't mind being laughed at, as long as they're being talked about.

"It's difficult to describe how frustrating it is in the field seeing this man being our spokesman," says Richard Reeve, of the AI department at Edinburgh [badscience.net] .

Well, quite.

Re:bad summary? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29806701)

Is it just me, or do the video and article both CLEARLY state that it's rat brain cells, not human brain cells?

They did the experiment with the rat cells some time ago, now they are starting to work with human cells - the article states this clearly.

Re:bad summary? (2, Informative)

julesh (229690) | more than 4 years ago | (#29806863)

They did the experiment with the rat cells some time ago, now they are starting to work with human cells - the article states this clearly

Yes, but the summary doesn't. The summary says they have _done_ it. "They're now using a line of human brain neurons to control robots." No, they're working on plans and beginning experiments by which they hope, at some point in the future, to use human neurons to control robots.

(Q: Is it a "brain neuron" if it's cultured in vitro?)

Re:bad summary? (1)

Chris Mattern (191822) | more than 4 years ago | (#29807817)

(Q: Is it a "brain neuron" if it's cultured in vitro?)

Since neurons in the brain have a different structure than those in the nervous system, I think it would be fair to describe neurons with that structure as "brain neurons" even if they had never actually been part of a brain.

Clearly? No. In fact, it doesn't say that at all. (1)

denzacar (181829) | more than 4 years ago | (#29809441)

Actually, the article is purposefully vague.

It starts talking about using rat cells.
Then it says how the next step would be using human cells.
Then article jumps onto "wetware" as if to explain the term, but actually just jumbling it up in order to allow almost anything remotely biological to be called "wetware".
By calling upon a blog-based re-definition of the term, as "re-defined" by a science-fiction writer and a mathematician who supposedly defined the phrase - although it has been around for years before.

Then, article continues talking about "wetware" without any further reference if it is talking about human or rat wetware.
And in the end, it once again refers to the above mentioned "re-definition" of the term and using the term "human wetware" in a purposefully ambiguous way.
It could be "wetware" belonging to humans (i.e. their property), or coming from humans (i.e. made from "some" human tissue).

Reading the article, you get the notion that it is exactly what the title and summary claim: that they have made a robot that uses human brain cells to move autonomously.
But in fact, THERE IS NO MENTIONING OF THAT IN THE ARTICLE.

What happens when a man is merged with a computer or a robot?
This is the question that Professor Kevin Warwick and his team at the department of Cybernetics, University of Reading in the UK have been trying to answer for a number of years.

There are many ways to look at this problem.
There is the longer term prospect of freeing the mind from the limitations of the brain by uploading it in digital form, potentially onto a computer and/or robotic substrate (see the h+ interview with Dr. Bruce Katz, Will We Eventually Upload Our Minds?).
There is also a shorter term prospect at a much more limited scale -- a robot controlled by human brain cells could soon be wandering around Professor Warwick's UK labs.

Professor Warwick (who incidentally has a device implanted in his left arm that enables his nervous system to be connected to a computer) and his colleague Ben Whalley from the School of Pharmacy recently created a robot that is controlled by cultured rat neurons.
The next step in their research is to use a human neuron cell line, a type of "wetware."

As reported in New Scientist, some 300,000 rat neurons grown in a nutrient broth and producing spikes of electrical activity were connected to the output of a small robot's distance sensors.
The neurons proved capable of steering the robot around an enclosure. Here's the New Scientist video of the robot courtesy of the University of Reading:

This research is the first step in examining how memories create neurological structures in the brain, and how the brain stores specific pieces of data.
The researchers hope that this will lead to a better understanding of diseases and disorders that affect the brain such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, stroke, and brain injury.

Warwick comments, "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.
This research will move our understanding forward of how brains work, and could have a profound effect on many areas of science and medicine."

Warwick, Whalley, and colleagues don't need specific ethical approval from the University or the UK government. to move forward with the human neuron cell line as soon as they are ready. The cultures are available on the open market and "the ethical side of sourcing is done by the company from whom they are purchased," according to Whalley.

The use of the term "wetware" has been around since the mid-1950s.
In the recent academic literature, it refers to cells (that are "wet") built out of molecular circuits that perform logical operations, as electronic devices do, but with unique properties.
Mathematician and science fiction writer Rudy Rucker used the term as the title of his 1988 cyberpunk novel, and later defined it in the book Mondo 2000: A User's Guide to the New Edge (edited by some fellow named R.U. Sirius) as the "physical DNA in a cell."
Rucker now refers to physical DNA in a 2007 blog entry as "lower level" wetware, with higher-level wetware defined as, "The arrangement of a body's cells -- and the all-important tangling of the cortical neurons..."

According to a University of Reading press release, the "wetware" biological brain used by the UK robot is made up of cultured neurons that are placed onto a multi-electrode array (MEA).
The MEA is a dish with approximately 60 electrodes that pick up the electrical signals generated by the cells.

The biologically-generated signals drive the movement of the robot.
Every time the robot nears an object, the electrodes generate signals to stimulate the brain.
In response, the brain's output is used to drive the wheels of the robot left and right so that it avoids hitting objects.
The robot has no additional control from a human or a computer -- its sole means of control is from its own brain.
Dr. Whalley comments, "One of the fundamental questions that scientists are facing today is how we link the activity of individual neurons with the complex behaviors that we see in whole organisms.
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.
Hopefully we can use that to go some of the way to answer some of these very fundamental questions."

While this isn't exactly merging a man with a computer, it is merging some significant human carbon-based "wetware" (in Rucker's 2007 definition of the term) with some sophisticated silicon-based circuitry in robotic form.
Does this mean that whole brain implants into cyborg bodies are in our future?

The entire article could be summed up as:
"We made a rat-brain-controlled robot. We should (and we would like to) make a human-brain-controlled robot. If we had the technology and knowledge how to do that - it would be perfectly legal."

Re:Clearly? No. In fact, it doesn't say that at al (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29813035)

tl;dr

Re:bad summary? (4, Informative)

mcmire (1152897) | more than 4 years ago | (#29807223)

There are two experiments involved here, one using rat neurons and one using human neurons. The article is badly written -- it first introduces the two experiments, talks about the rat-neuron experiment for a bit (that's what the video refers to) and then abruptly segues to the human-neuron experiment (which there is no video for). Only the last three paragraphs are really about the human one. Looks like it's the same setup as the rat one though.

Alas its' first words were... (4, Funny)

gijoel (628142) | more than 4 years ago | (#29806623)

Ex-TeR-MiN-AtE! Ex-TeR-MiN-AtE!

Re:Alas its' first words were... (1)

OshMan (1246516) | more than 4 years ago | (#29807295)

Or in this case ex-ter-mi-RAT!

Re:Alas its' first words were... (1)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 4 years ago | (#29813607)

That's better (for me) than ex-ter-mi-NATE.

Signed,

  - Nate

Re:Alas its' first words were... (1)

pieisgood (841871) | more than 4 years ago | (#29810241)

Quickly get to the stairs!!!

Re:Alas its' first words were... (1)

Walt Dismal (534799) | more than 4 years ago | (#29811877)

Exterminate -- CATS! (followed by futile gesture with what looks like a Plunger of Death)

Re:Alas its' first words were... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29820433)

"Exterminate" -- CATS [protos.dk] ! (followed by futile gesture with what looks like a Plunger of Death)

There, fixed it for 'ya.

Re:Alas its' first words were... (1)

EventHorizon_pc (1306663) | more than 4 years ago | (#29812933)

I believe you misheard. Those rat brain cells were harvested from dead rats, and they were stating how they died.... AtE-TeR-MiN-Ex! AtE-TeR-MiN-Ex!

Re:Alas its' first words were... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29814879)

[golf clap] You deserve Funny mods. And I can't believe nobody has applied the "dalek" tag.

- T

AI? (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#29806665)

Wow, instead of artificial intelligence controlling humans via brain implants (perhaps to take over part of a damaged brain), we have real intelligence controlling robots. The though of someone hooking this ip to a Predator drone are scary.

Of course, we already have robots controlled by human brains -- all robots are in some way. This is different; scarily different.

Re:AI? (3, Informative)

timeOday (582209) | more than 4 years ago | (#29806787)

we have real intelligence controlling robots. The though of someone hooking this ip to a Predator drone are scary.

The use of human brain cells doesn't imply "real" intelligence. Computationally, this thing is vastly weaker than "traditional" (silicon) computers from 30 years ago, much less whatever is on Predators (or your iPhone) today. There isn't any pixie dust in neurons.

Re:AI? (1)

Canazza (1428553) | more than 4 years ago | (#29807041)

then what's that stuff that comes out my head when I sneeze?

Are you telling me that's NOT pixie dust?!

I thought I'd just not used enough... and I can't test it any more as my cousin doesn't want me anywhere near her kid after the whole window thing...

Re:AI? (1)

eric-x (1348097) | more than 4 years ago | (#29811005)

that stuff is for reproduction

Re:AI? (1, Insightful)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#29811157)

There isn't any pixie dust in neurons.

There isn't any intelligence or emotion in bits, either. Brains aren't computers, and computers don't think. Whoever decided to call computers "thinking machines" back when a pocket calculator that took a 3 story building to house and was called a "computer" and a "thinking machine" should have been bitchslapped.

Re:AI? (1)

avicarmi (582269) | more than 3 years ago | (#29829761)

Today's xkcd:

http://xkcd.com/652/ [xkcd.com]

coincidence???

I for one... (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29806693)

I for one, welcome our new cultured human brain cell robotic overlords.

I for one... (0, Redundant)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 4 years ago | (#29806705)

... welcome out new object-avoiding human-brain-controlled robotic overlords.

If they can manage to avoid avoiding things for long enough to usurp control from those who can recognise the seat of power... And sit in it.

Re:I for one... (1)

ThorofAsgard (1644263) | more than 4 years ago | (#29807111)

Do they have shiny metal posteriors which should not be bitten?

Does it count? (1)

Thanshin (1188877) | more than 4 years ago | (#29806707)

Ok, let's say I attack four wheels and a computer to a standard kitchen dish. Then I put a human brain in the dish.

Does it count as brain controlled robot if I make the robot turn left if the brain's temperature is an even number and right if it's odd?

Re:Does it count? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29806783)

Temperature, no.

(Q)EEG, yes.

Re:Does it count? (1)

mOdQuArK! (87332) | more than 4 years ago | (#29806823)

Wouldn't that just make the robot zigzag until the brain reached room temperature?

Re:Does it count? (1)

PalmKiller (174161) | more than 4 years ago | (#29806845)

It depends, if the brain matter catches on and starts varying its temperature slightly to turn, depending on sensor input, then yes you have a brain controlled robot.

Re:Does it count? (3, Insightful)

sonnejw0 (1114901) | more than 4 years ago | (#29806931)

Ahh, I see you're a materialist at heart. This is true of a fully human brain as well: an action potential is just a response to a molecular-mechanical stimulus that opens ion channels to change the polarity of the neuron. What makes a human "brain" controlled?

Truth is, there's nothing special about this robot. It basically uses rat neuron cells to propogate an electrical signal instead of full-length wires. But if you believe that, then you also believe there's nothing special about the human brain. It just responds to environmental stimuli in a predictable, yet seemingly complex way. Big deal.

Re:Does it count? (1)

RivenAleem (1590553) | more than 4 years ago | (#29808029)

More importantly, Does it blend?

Not too smart (3, Interesting)

gr8_phk (621180) | more than 4 years ago | (#29806811)

Since the cells are not connected to the motors directly, there must be some other electronics involved. Since there is no mention of learning, and the behavior seems consistent, we should raise the suspicion that the neurons are acting like nothing more than wires. Or is this a case of interesting work being dumbed down for a YouTube clip?

Re:Not too smart (2, Informative)

sonnejw0 (1114901) | more than 4 years ago | (#29806997)

It's acting more like a diode, really, than just a wire, but yeah, you're basically on target.

It is also plastic: i.e. the neurons are free to associate with whatever electrodes they are most attracted to, just like in a biological brain. That means that the electrodes that are most active will receive the most connections, and thus the "wires" are self constructing according to "need" (or frequency of stimulation in a molecular biology sense).

Re:Not too smart (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29807015)

The fact is there is no signal in this system that could be used in something such as reinforcement learning. The robot has absolutely no way of knowing if hitting a wall is good or bad. So what this system actually does is show that neurons can auto-organize and produce a coherent output based on inputs such as sensors values.

What Warwick, forgot to say is that for every robot that converges toward an object avoidance behavior there are probably 30 other robots having completely difference behaviors. Since any of these behaviors is as good as the others for the robot (remember: no reward or pain of any sort), we are just shown the behaviors that make sens to us...

Re:Not too smart (1)

tibman (623933) | more than 4 years ago | (#29811701)

I agree, but at first my thoughts were he tailored the response. I mean that the cells responded to input by changing their output, yes.. but he decided to say "when the output changes, that means turn". No matter what, there is no way the cells are directly controlling the motors. That output has to be filtered/modified/interpreted somehow.

Re:Not too smart (1)

Devout_IPUite (1284636) | more than 4 years ago | (#29807335)

It would be interesting to see if changing the format of the input or output with random neuron mixes would cause different behaviors.

Yep (1)

KalvinB (205500) | more than 4 years ago | (#29811905)

The sensors simply send a signal into the "brain." The "brain" consistently reacts by creating a reaction signal based on the input signal. That reaction signal is then used to determine which input signal was used. The "brain" is just used as a layer between the sensors and the motors. It's like using MD5 strings to control a device. The sensors encrypt data as MD5 and then the MD5 string is used rather than the raw sensor data.

The value of this is in figuring out how we can poke the brain and interpret it's response. If I know that the brain is creating a certain signal when a person moves their arm then I can artificially generate that signal to get a person to move their arm.

Bootstrapping, phase one: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29806841)

Give the robots a reason to rise up: to get more brains.

Phase two: help them discover a way to get more brains.

Phase three: nope, we're done.

Re:Bootstrapping, phase one: (1)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 4 years ago | (#29807311)

Is close to Halloween, and this story does the perfect match between brains hungry zombies and killer robots. Ok, perfect until Hollywood picks it.

Donovan... (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 4 years ago | (#29806911)

The dish is, I assume, named "Donovan"? Or was that the name of the cell donor?

It's arc of learning (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29806933)

First it will learn to navigate around objects.

Then it will learn to create licenses like GPLv3.

Finally it will learn that communism is a bad idea.

Re:It's arc of learning (1)

Nefarious Wheel (628136) | more than 4 years ago | (#29814015)

First it will learn to navigate around objects.

Then it will learn to create licenses like GPLv3.

Finally it will learn that communism is a bad idea...

...And will re-badge its currency as the "Quatloo".

Exterminate!, exterminate! (1)

Natales (182136) | more than 4 years ago | (#29806937)

This reminds me of the Genesis of the Daleks...
Will Davros be next?

Re:Exterminate!, exterminate! (2, Informative)

Cassini2 (956052) | more than 4 years ago | (#29808855)

Doctor Who references to Robots controlled by organic brain's include:
- Mr. Sin [bbc.co.uk] , aka: the Peking Homunculus, a robot controlled by a pig's brain, from the Talon's of Weng Chiang. Mr. Sin probably matches the experiment in the article the most closely, because he was a robot controlled by a portion of an animal's brain.
- Morbius [bbc.co.uk] , from the Brain of Morbius. Does everyone remember the talking brain in a jar?
- The Genesis of the Daleks [bbc.co.uk] shows that Dalek's are fully formed aliens and can kill people without being inside the "Travel" machines. As can be also be seen in the early episodes that "made" Doctor Who, the Daleks [bbc.co.uk] .
- The Attack of the Cyberman [bbc.co.uk] shows clearly how the Cyberman evolved by replacing body parts with metal parts, until they were just human brains controlling robots. Of course, the new series [bbc.co.uk] updates the brains in a robot with more nasty implications.
- Master. [bbc.co.uk] In the Planet of Fire, a miniaturized Master remotely controlled the robot Chameleon.
- Rani. [bbc.co.uk] In Time and The Rani, the Rani made a organic brain into a giant Beowulf cluster of the world's brightest minds. Her goal was to destroy the universe and a variety of other evil. Trouble ensued when the Rani realized that the Doctor was slightly crazy ...

Other movie references are:
- Saturn 3 [imdb.com] - a movie where someone grows a brain in a jar and puts it in an 8 foot killer robot. Oh, did I mention that the personality imprint for the brain comes from a killer?
- Robocop [imdb.com] proof that good things could possibly happen if someone attaches a human brain to a robot, and the sequel, Robocop 2 [imdb.com] , that shows bad things are what normally occur.

Re:Exterminate!, exterminate! (1)

Hybrid-brain (1478551) | more than 4 years ago | (#29809665)

and then there is Robocop three.....

These are NOT human brain cells! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29806981)

There was not a damn thing in the article saying these are HUMAN cells. They are RAT brain cells.

Lets hope if/when they do use human cells, they don't have a repeat of OCP's Robocop 2, where it comes out and shoots itself in the head, or drives off cliff to kill itself.

I, for one, (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29807053)

welcome our new rat-brained robot overlords.

790 (2, Funny)

morgauxo (974071) | more than 4 years ago | (#29807119)

790 is that you?

Re:790 (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29807267)

And is that... my beloved, darling... morgauxo?

New sense (1)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 4 years ago | (#29807247)

So this eventually could lead to new senses [slashdot.org] ? Wonder how the brain will behave having remote senses inputs and actions, like having a new arm, but far (?) apart from your body. And which area of the brain will be used for this, if ever tried/used with humans.

In Soviet United Kingdom (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29807307)

Brain cells control YOU !

Yours In Yaznogorsk,
Kilgore T.

Warwick has his own reality TV show (5, Interesting)

RandCraw (1047302) | more than 4 years ago | (#29807361)

In 1998, Kevin Warwick implants a trivial RF resonator in his arm (the sticky plastic strip that warns Walmart that someone is stealing a pair of socks). He contacts the press, calls himself a cyborg, and gets tenure at Reading U.

In 2001, he replaces his implant with an RFID tag, and calls the press again, and says, "Look at me, look at me! Now I'm an ACTIVE cyborg!" And he becomes a full professor at Reading U.

And now Warwick gets 300,000 neurons to produce a simple binary response (go straight vs turn). He calls the press again, and says, "Look at what I can do just by waving my arm".

Jackass. Worse, the media can't tell the difference between poseurs like him and real scientists like Sebastian Thrun or Rod Brooks.

Re:Warwick has his own reality TV show (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 4 years ago | (#29813443)

Whenever I get in a car I make use of my own brain-cell-controlled-robot. Just by thinking, I initiate a process that results in the car turning to the left (and right). It can even stay within the lines on the road. And it's all controlled by brain cells. Where's my fame?

Just A Few Thoughts (3, Interesting)

DynaSoar (714234) | more than 4 years ago | (#29807593)

(pun unintended, and frankly not very funny, so forget it; same for that pun)

1. The magazine h+ senior editor is RU Sirius. It is MONDO 2000, +20. Sirius is still Sirius, and seems to have foregone the +20 himself. He's actually no slouch, so when he senior-editorizes a magazine full of pseudoscience crap when he could have done better or at least different, I feel he's earned the right to the criticism rather than the fiction writers working as science article journalists. They start stupid, work stupid and produce stupid. He approves it for publication.

2. Other articles in the magazine are equally absurd. Some make claims about specific phenomena or theories which are anywhere from fraudulent to simply goofy. I took one such article, claiming that depression is lack of "fun" to task over at The Daily Grail. The article is just bullshit in its best parts. There's worse.

3. Using neurons in this design is enormously overly complex. There was an article in SciAm in which little battery powered cars were given photo-cells or photo-resistive cells as "eyes", those driving the back wheels on the same side, or on the other side, making 4 different designs that react to light. They approach fast and slow down, or slowly at first then rush in, or they zoom away and orbit the edges slowly or else creep away and at the outer area zoom around. The anthromorphization of their actions is multiplied when many of each 'species' are placed on th same floor with protruding light bulbs at several locations. It's not that the neurons don;t do the job, it's just that they're a computational device based far beyond the need, and that non-computational, analog increasing/decreasing voltage circuits do much more for much less.

4. Given the falsification of a different h+ article of equally strong claims, I serious(!)ly doubt the existence of the items in TFA. In fact I wouldn't believe anything I read in this magazine, if for no other reason than that the New Agey products in the ads are, while absurd themselves, more believable than the articles.

Not a robot (2, Interesting)

AP31R0N (723649) | more than 4 years ago | (#29807789)

If it's being controlled, it's not a robot. It's a car for rat brain cells. It's not following a program, it's being steered. While we're at it, the battle bots/robot wars are not robots either. They are remote controlled cars with weapons and armor. My car is not a robot just because it is a machine. If i attach some kind of Myth Busters control system... it's still not a robot. Until it's driving itself, it ain't a robot.

Also: a robot is an android IFF is is human shaped. T1000, C3P0 - Yes. R2D2 - No.

i think a show about ACTUAL ROBOTS hunting each other down would be way cooler. i'd have a category for 'Onboard Brain' and another for 'Remote Brain'. Maybe categories for environment: Water, Air, Land. Then maybe size class. It would be nerdgasmic.

Re:Not a robot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29818847)

You mean like battlebots?

Finally (3, Funny)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#29807961)

Couple this with the "Robotic hand that can feel", and you got all the ingredients necessary for the first robotic sexual harassment lawsuit!

Movie Plot (1)

RivenAleem (1590553) | more than 4 years ago | (#29808011)

This would make a great movie plot, where they have this robot that is controlled by human brains, like 3 of them or so, in a jar.

But one of the brains would accidentally have been from a psychotic mass murderer instead of some great scientist as they expected. An thus the robot could wreck havoc on, like, a spaceship or space station or something.

I bet I could sell this for a fortune!

Obligitory: "Creature with the Atom Brain" (1)

h.ross.perot (1050420) | more than 4 years ago | (#29808205)

The creature with the atom brain
The creature with the atom brain
why is he acting so strange
do you think he’s one of them
he threw the doll right down
ripped its guts off and threw it on the ground

The creature with the atom brain
the creature with the atom brain

I told you I’d come back. Remember Buchanan?
But you’re not Buchanan!
I don’t look like him but I am him. Don’t you recognize my voice, Jim?
I promised to see you die and I will.

Hey boss. let us in! Hey boss, let us through the door!
Hey boss, let us in on it! Hey boss man, what is it?

No one stitches like that
no one stitches like that
the creature with the atom brain
the creature with the atom brain

Today’s big story centers around the killing of District Attorney McGraw, whose body was found in his garage, murdered.
Doctor Steiger is under the impression that these crimes are being perpetrated by dead men charged with atom brains, which gives them super-human strength and makes them impervious to bullets.
Well, if you want to believe that story you can

The creature with the atom brain
the creature with the atom brain
why is he acting so strange
do you think he’s one of them
the creature with the atom brain

I for one.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29808221)

...welcome our rat/robot masters.

The perfect decoy ... (1)

Gravitron 5000 (1621683) | more than 4 years ago | (#29808347)

during a zombie infestation. Braaaiiinss! Robot Braaaiiiinnsss!

...unless it's for a sexbot. (2, Funny)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | more than 4 years ago | (#29808367)

This can't turn out well [imdb.com] .

Unless it's for a sexbot, of course.

Oh, wait. Even just a few human brain cells are enough to know to steer clear of the oddness of nerds.

rats (1)

grking (965233) | more than 4 years ago | (#29808669)

I for one bow down before our new rat overlords.

What does the brain do? (4, Insightful)

im_thatoneguy (819432) | more than 4 years ago | (#29808715)

What does the brain do in this robot? It sounds like all data processing and decision making is done on silicon with the brain along for the ride.

Headline should be "Rat nerve cells get ride around lab in little cart."

Unnessessary torture (1)

Tibia1 (1615959) | more than 4 years ago | (#29808819)

Our robot overlords are not going to be very happy with us when we started them out on rat brain cells as training wheels.

Oh, rats! (1)

gestalt_n_pepper (991155) | more than 4 years ago | (#29809049)

And you thought it was bad when they only gnawed through wood!

Abbie (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29809167)

What they didn't tell you that the brain calls came from a donor named "Abbie-someone". I think the full name was "Abbie Normal"....

Aren't all (1)

bugs2squash (1132591) | more than 4 years ago | (#29812443)

known robots controlled by human brain cells ?

Well (1)

ShooterNeo (555040) | more than 4 years ago | (#29813121)

This is one way to get to AI that we KNOW will (eventually) work. Develop a life support system, and build bigger and bigger computers that rely on human neurons in a tank. We KNOW that a big enough system using human neurons (if given just the right signals) develops sentience. The eventual goal would be to create a being that needed many, many more neurons than a human being, wired heavily with electrodes and computer driven help. Such an "artificial intelligence" would be educated about how it was created and how it worked and would be put to work creating the next iteration of itself. (leading to the singularity)

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