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Robot Controlled By Rat Brain

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the we're-gonna-need-a-smarter-trap dept.

Robotics 170

kkleiner writes "Kevin Warwick, once a cyborg and still a researcher in cybernetics at the University of Reading, has been working on creating biological neural networks that can control machines. He and his team have taken the brain cells from rats, cultured them, and used them as the guidance control circuit for simple wheeled robots. Electrical impulses from the bot enter the batch of neurons, and responses from the cells are turned into commands for the device. The cells can form new connections, making the system a true learning machine."

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170 comments

I for one would like to take this opportunity... (5, Funny)

JeffSpudrinski (1310127) | more than 3 years ago | (#33822864)

to greet our new rat overlords.

Re:I for one would like to take this opportunity.. (4, Funny)

msauve (701917) | more than 3 years ago | (#33822902)

"The same thing we do every day, Pinky, try to take over the world!"

Re:I for one would like to take this opportunity.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33823096)

And in other news - Reading town council announced they have changed their name to ............. CAPRICA

Brain: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33823752)

"But are you pondering what I'm pondering?"

Re:I for one would like to take this opportunity.. (5, Insightful)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 3 years ago | (#33823160)

Here's [wikipedia.org] a rat cyborg who used to be our overlord. As to cyborgs, Warwick was never a cyborg. Implanting a chip that does nothing whatever doesn't make you a cyborg, but a pacemaker does. To be a cyborg you have to have a device implanted in your body that aids in the body's function; a pacemaker, an artificial hip or knee, a cochlear implant, an accomodating IOL, etc. Implanting a chip that does nothing is just stupid.

Your grandma's probably a real cyborg.

Re:I for one would like to take this opportunity.. (1)

Grr (15821) | more than 3 years ago | (#33823458)

Warwick was never a cyborg.

Does controlling a mechanical hand [kevinwarwick.com] count? Or communicating electronically (however primitive)? And that's what he was up to in 2002.

Re:I for one would like to take this opportunity.. (2, Insightful)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 3 years ago | (#33823606)

That's also what he got after 4 years of calling himself a cyborg and giving lectures on cyborg rights for having nothing more than a RFID chip under the skin. The one that actually interfaces with the nerves is also someone else's design.

But the GP criticism IMHO still stands. There are people with more useful implants than Captain Cyborg, and more fitting the cyborg meaning, and some from long before him. The first pacemaker was implanted in 1960, though the first research into that started at the end of the 19'th century. That's a mix of biological and machine right there and it's from before waay before Warwick's PR stunts.

And in the meantime we have stuff that's even better. E.g., CCD retina replacements interface with nerves too and do something more useful than Warwick's chip.

Heck, studies in interfacing with neurons or sometimes directly with the brain have been happening since 1970. In 1999 someone managed to reproduce images seen by a cat, and in 2000 someone did exactly the trick of replicating arm movements for a monkey. That's actual neural interfacing research from the time when Captain Cyborg had just a RFID chip. His subsequent basically getting a similar chip to that in said monkey implanted in himself makes him at most an early human test subject, but nothing more than that.

Re:I for one would like to take this opportunity.. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33823478)

A pacemaker doesn't make you a cyborg.

Instead, if it's under your control, or connected to your nervous system to feed information, that would make you a cyborg.

Re:I for one would like to take this opportunity.. (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 3 years ago | (#33824030)

To be a cyborg you have to have a device implanted in your body that aids in the body's function; a pacemaker, an artificial hip or knee, a cochlear implant, an accomodating IOL, etc. Implanting a chip that does nothing is just stupid.

I'm not sure an artificial hip/knee would make you a cyborg -- otherwise, a pegleg would also make you a cyborg.

I think the hip/knee seem too passive to be cybrenetic [wikipedia.org] -- there's no sensors or anything beyond purely "mechanical" things; I think you'd need some more sensors or "active" technology. But, hey, I could be massively wrong -- even reading the wikipedia article I'm not sure I really get it.

But, hey, my mom has an artificial knee, and is slated to get another one soon. If my mom is a cyborg, that would be friggin' awesome!!

Re:I for one would like to take this opportunity.. (1)

sempir (1916194) | more than 3 years ago | (#33823888)

to suggest they don't let the robot get a whiff of some dudes cheese lunch.....it could go ape shit!

Re:I for one would like to take this opportunity.. (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 3 years ago | (#33824166)

to suggest they don't let the robot get a whiff of some dudes cheese lunch.....it could go ape shit!

The rat bastard!

Creepy. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33822872)

Way to creep me the fuck out, slashdot.

Re:Creepy. (0, Troll)

Pharmboy (216950) | more than 3 years ago | (#33822970)

Way to creep me the fuck out, slashdot.

Now they just need to connect frickin' laser beams to their heads, because even rat-bots deserve a hot meal.

Re:Creepy. (1)

Vectormatic (1759674) | more than 3 years ago | (#33822996)

you think you are creeped out? we have five pet rats in the house, and most of the time their cage is open too! (they cant get out anyway, table is to high)

Re:Creepy. (2, Informative)

ByOhTek (1181381) | more than 3 years ago | (#33823028)

My rat leaped down from just about anywhere when I had a pet - that wouldn't have stopped her.

I miss my rat now...

Re:Creepy. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33823256)

I used to have twin albino rats, which had a genetic defect that caused them to bleed (pus or something) out of their eyes, and be blind (honestly!). They looked like zombies. Despite their handicap, they were still very nimble and usually you couldn't tell that they're blind. Their cage was open all the time, and despite that usually they preferred not to go out, sometimes they'd even take the leap of faith to the ground (or slip and fall off, I don't know). Ah, those were some rats.

Rats!! A cylon! (2, Funny)

SlappyBastard (961143) | more than 3 years ago | (#33822884)

On the bright side, when the robot apocalypse comes, no one will be blaming the computer programmers. They'll just track down these guys and ask them, "I know you were working really hard, but how did you never catch an episode of Battlestar Galactica?!"

Christine O'Donnell Was Right! (4, Funny)

chill (34294) | more than 3 years ago | (#33822912)

Well, not really, but it is as close as she is going to get on any subject.

http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2010/09/odonnell-in-2007-scientists-have-created-mice-with-human-brains.php [talkingpointsmemo.com]

Re:Christine O'Donnell Was Right! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33824168)

She misunderstood the news story but wasn't completely wrong; she was probably referring to an experiment in which rodents were created with some human brain cells, making their brains in some very limited sense part-human. So great; a person who's not scientifically literate doesn't understand the technical details of a science story.

Robot Controlled by Rat Brain (1)

dimethylxanthine (946092) | more than 3 years ago | (#33822916)

Which I guess is one step closer to a rat brain being controlled by a robot...

Re:Robot Controlled by Rat Brain (3, Interesting)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#33823008)

Mainly the neuron control helps the robot to avoid walls.

So there must be messaging back into the rat. So the robot is to some extent controlling the rat brain.

Re:Robot Controlled by Rat Brain (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33823204)

I wouldn't consider feedback the same as control, but it's a step in the right (or maybe wrong) direction.

Re:Robot Controlled by Rat Brain (1)

slim (1652) | more than 3 years ago | (#33823440)

So there must be messaging back into the rat. So the robot is to some extent controlling the rat brain.

I'm pretty sure the rat is out of the picture. Probably dead (it doesn't seem worth the hassle to harvest braincells from a rat in a non-lethal manner).

From what I can tell, all that's going on is that they've constructed a neural network out of real neurons.

Re:Robot Controlled by Rat Brain (4, Informative)

slim (1652) | more than 3 years ago | (#33823488)

I followed some links. http://journals.pepublishing.com/content/b31654739h7nk726/ [pepublishing.com]

The cells are harvested from a rat foetus. They're grown in a special vessel, where they're in contact with an array of electrodes. They spontaneously arrange themselves into a neural network. The difficult part is training that network to do anything useful.

Re:Robot Controlled by Rat Brain (2, Insightful)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 3 years ago | (#33823524)

Only if you consider that the radiator is controlling the thermostat. Feedback loop 101. The output is by definition not the controller. A circuit saying "You've bumped into something" may well involve a loop of its own, but by itself it does nothing towards altering that situation. The mouse cells decide that "You've hit something" is bad, and move the robot away, therefore the messaging to the rat is no more a controller in the loop than the radiator.

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

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33822974)

...welcome our new rat brained overlords.

Misleading title should say "... Rat Brain Cells" (5, Informative)

chemicaldave (1776600) | more than 3 years ago | (#33822976)

Brain cells, and an entire brain (especially a mammal's) are two separate beasts.

Re:Misleading title should say "... Rat Brain Cell (4, Funny)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 3 years ago | (#33823000)

"Separate beasts" is a bit of a muddled metaphor in this instance.

Re:Misleading title should say "... Rat Brain Cell (1)

Gaygirlie (1657131) | more than 3 years ago | (#33823312)

Brain cells, and an entire brain (especially a mammal's) are two separate beasts.

That's what I thought. When reading the title one would understand that they removed rat brains and inserted them in a robot and still managed to keep them partially functioning, but in reality they just took some nervous cells from rat brains, cultivated them and then used those. Not even remotely the same thing. A brain controls quite a lot of things, has insane parallel computing capabilities, memory, reasoning capabilities and so on and so forth, but a network of nervous cells cultivated in laboratory environment of this scale is more-or-less just a device that does what it's told to do..

I know I should already be used to seeing idiotic and completely wrong titles in Slashdot news but gee, do people do that on purpose or why they seem to never actually learn anything?

True learning machine? (4, Interesting)

SoupIsGoodFood_42 (521389) | more than 3 years ago | (#33822990)

If it uses living cells from a rat brain, then it's not really a machine.

Re:True learning machine? (1)

arielCo (995647) | more than 3 years ago | (#33823038)

Perhaps they mean that the rat --> robot --> rat control loop constitutes a learning system.

Re:True learning machine? (2, Insightful)

0olong (876791) | more than 3 years ago | (#33823138)

Are you saying a rat -or a human- is not a machine?

Re:True learning machine? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33823248)

I agree. the fact that "living person" is not a subset of the "machine" set is not sure.

Philosophical thought has still to get this clear. In the while natural sciences are accumulating more and more evidence that it is in fact the case.

P.S. evidence is not definitive proof, but for the time being this is what we have got.

Re:True learning machine? (1)

SoupIsGoodFood_42 (521389) | more than 3 years ago | (#33823554)

In the sense I mean, yes.

Re:True learning machine? (1)

0olong (876791) | more than 3 years ago | (#33823764)

Scientists: "We've developed a new hybrid metal/rat machine."
SoupIsGoodFood_42: "If it uses living cells from a rat brain, then it's not really a machine ...because when I use the word machine I mean something else and you may not deviate from my what I have in mind!"

Maybe you're right though. Maybe one of us is just a tool...

Re:True learning machine? (1)

slim (1652) | more than 3 years ago | (#33823854)

In the sense I mean, yes.

I think it would be helpful if you explained what you mean by "machine" in that case.

I'm trying to do it for you -- anticipating what I guess is your reasoning -- but I'm having an awful lot of trouble doing so without explicitly saying "unless it's alive". And that has the special problem that you then have to define "alive".

Re:True learning machine? (2, Funny)

arndawg (1468629) | more than 3 years ago | (#33823654)

A machine needs to made out of silicone and semi-conductors. Also it should have red glowing eyes and a hard metal skeleton powered by a nuclear core. Optionally you can add some fake skin on the skeleton for apperances.

Re:True learning machine? (3, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | more than 3 years ago | (#33823260)

I suppose that would depend on how you define and perceive "machine." After all, is a microprocessor a machine? How about RAM? How about programmable chips that can reconfigure themselves into various networks of transistors? Is it because there is biology instead of nano-construction involved? The reality is that we don't yet have technology that can match what naturally occurring neural networks can do... not yet. But by making use of these small samples, we can begin to interface with them and then start building our own after learning to work with them enough to predict their behaviors.

In time, the rat brain cells will be replaced with something synthetic. Once that is done, will it then be a machine even when the functionality becomes identical?

Re:True learning machine? (2, Informative)

pinkushun (1467193) | more than 3 years ago | (#33823298)

Technically, even a screw is considered a machine [cmu.edu]. Everything more complex and more functional than a screw should then also be a machine, regardless if it contains biomass. No?

Re:True learning machine? (1)

slim (1652) | more than 3 years ago | (#33823354)

I think there are people who believe that there is some non-physical aspect to living things that separates them from machines. A "soul" for want of a better word.

Not me. I agree with you, we are (very complex) machines.

Re:True learning machine? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33823476)

to believe != to know != to understand ecc.ecc.

The fact that a lot of people "believe" (blindly or not) something does not prove anything.

Re:True learning machine? (1)

SoupIsGoodFood_42 (521389) | more than 3 years ago | (#33823714)

You don't have to believe in a non-physical soul to come to the conclusion that biological organisms are more than just machines.

Re:True learning machine? (1)

insufflate10mg (1711356) | more than 3 years ago | (#33823790)

Yes you do. Name one part of a living organism (excluding the "soul") that makes it any different from a sufficiently complex machine.

Re:True learning machine? (2, Informative)

wisdom_brewing (557753) | more than 3 years ago | (#33823428)

You post that having misunderstood it... A screw jack is a machine according to their definition. A screw is not.

"Machine: an assemblage of parts that transmit forces, motion and energy in a predetermined manner."

A screw is a part, not an assemblage of parts.

Re:True learning machine? (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 3 years ago | (#33823986)

No... didn’t you take high school physics? A machine doesn’t have to be an assemblage of parts; besides which, some classifications I have seen (though not Wikipedia) consider a screw to be a compound machine (i.e. it is an assemblage of parts): depending on the head and the shape of the screw, it could consist of a wheel and axle (e.g. a bolt head) and/or a wedge (if it’s tapered) in addition to the inclined plane.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Machine [wikipedia.org]

A machine is a device that uses energy to perform some activity. ... A simple machine is a device that transforms the direction or magnitude of a force without consuming any energy.

Simple machines: Inclined plane, Wheel and axle, Lever, Pulley, Wedge, Screw

Re:True learning machine? (1)

thedonger (1317951) | more than 3 years ago | (#33823328)

I didn't read anything that indicated that it actually learned anything, just a note that the cells are living and can make new connections.

It sounds to me like they measured what "response" came back from the cells for certain input, not that the cells made any logical or deliberate choice to do anything. I call semi-shenanigans.

Re:True learning machine? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33823474)

Is it less of a machine just because it is biological? Can machines not be built from organic material?
If I build a machine out of wood, will it still be a machine?

Re:True learning machine? (1)

SoupIsGoodFood_42 (521389) | more than 3 years ago | (#33823582)

I'm more interested to know if others think it's less of a living being.

Re:True learning machine? (2, Informative)

slim (1652) | more than 3 years ago | (#33823674)

I'm more interested to know if others think it's less of a living being.

"It is still a challenge for scientists and philosophers to define life in unequivocal terms" (thanks Wikipedia)

I think you might be able to describe the test tube full of cells that's "piloting" the robot as alive. It's made of biological cells. Presumably it consumes nutrients.

Ethically, the most troublesome part is harvesting the cells from a rat foetus (which I suspect not many /. readers would object to.) From then on, it's at something like the level of a worm, if that.

Re:True learning machine? (1)

SoupIsGoodFood_42 (521389) | more than 3 years ago | (#33823746)

Do worms not suffer? Or perhaps they aren't capable of suffering to the same degree as other life-forms?

Re:True learning machine? (1)

slim (1652) | more than 3 years ago | (#33823890)

I'm fairly comfortable with claiming that worms don't suffer. I'm not sure what the boundaries of my own personal definition of "suffer" is, but I'm pretty sure an organism must possess a brain in order to experience it.

Re:True learning machine? (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 3 years ago | (#33823782)

Are you sure? [northeastern.edu] Does that mean that since it's implanted in my eye, the crystalens isn't a device? 200 years ago when mills were powered by animals it wasn't machinery either?

I fail to see the logic in your statement. How does the use of biology in a machine make it not a machine?

Sentient cells? (5, Interesting)

Twinbee (767046) | more than 3 years ago | (#33823006)

What doesn't seem too clear after listening to the videos is why the rat's cells wouldn't want to crash the robot it's controlling, into the wall. Did the scientists program that in (perhaps wall crashes give the cells some kind of negative electrical stimulation), or did the cells have a mind of its own on that front?

The difference is subtle because it means we have either a 'mere' replacement for computer chips, or potentially much more - a sentient clump of cells which want the 'best' for the robot it's controlling.

Re:Sentient cells? (5, Interesting)

golden age villain (1607173) | more than 3 years ago | (#33823066)

I was wondering the same and honestly it seems fishy to me. There is no such thing as a negative electrical stimulation for neurons. Granted there is inhibition by GABA and some other neuromodulators. So unless they drop something on the tissue to induce some sort of learning, I simply don't see why any coherent behavior would emerge since there is no "motivation" to behave in one way rather than the other. From the wall-avoidance behavior video, my guess is that the sensors continuously feed the network until they detect a surface and then stop. In that case, the behavior would be hard-coded in the sensors and not in the network.

Re:Sentient cells? (1)

JamesP (688957) | more than 3 years ago | (#33823612)

Well, but in real animal beings 'bad signals' (pain, pressure, heat, etc) are that... signals

Re:Sentient cells? (1)

RadioElectric (1060098) | more than 3 years ago | (#33823874)

Yes, but the signals for visual input, pain input, motor output, etc. are all the same. The significant thing is whether the neuron they are sent along is one which communicates "large object to my left", "pain" or "move left leg forwards".

(This is still a bit of a simplification, but it's closer to the truth.)

Re:Sentient cells? (1)

golden age villain (1607173) | more than 3 years ago | (#33823912)

True but the brain is highly compartmentalized. Some areas will receive sensory input and report to "higher" areas which integrate input from different modalities, probably compare that to "memories" and finally take a decision which is enacted by sending input to motor areas. (To make a simple comparison with the robot's behavior). At each stage, many different neuron types and several different neurotransmitters are used. Here you basically have one petri dish with probably one neuron type (I am not 100% sure on that one) receiving one type of input (probably the cells lie on an array of electrodes). It's not quite the same. Moreover, cell cultured neurons are very different from what you find in the real thing. Unless of course they culture brain slices.

Re:Sentient cells? (5, Informative)

EdZ (755139) | more than 3 years ago | (#33823116)

It's a SLNN (Self-Learning Neural Network) with actual neurons rather than virtual ones. You don't 'program' the cells, you provide inputs and 'reward' the correct output to those inputs, and let the neurons iteratively learn the correct weights in between.

Re:Sentient cells? (1)

insufflate10mg (1711356) | more than 3 years ago | (#33823826)

Correct. But how are you rewarding a group of neurons?

Re:Sentient cells? (1)

slim (1652) | more than 3 years ago | (#33823958)

Therein lies the challenge.

In a virtual neural net, when the output is close to what you want, you promote the inputs to the neurons that fired. When the output is not what you want, you demote them.

At a complete guess (I can only see the front page of the scientific papers, and probably wouldn't understand them if I went further anyway), they have some electrical or chemical means to reinforce neural links that have recently fired .

Re:Sentient cells? (2, Interesting)

RadioElectric (1060098) | more than 3 years ago | (#33823920)

"Reward" is an interesting word to use. In whole brains there are entire systems of neurons which control motivation and reward (dopamine, endorphins, etc.). "Reward" at the level of a single neuron means nothing. There are ways of encouraging a particular input/output association (LTP), which I guess is as close as you'd get at the level of a single neuron, but there doesn't seem to be much info on what Warwick et al. actually DID here.

Re:Sentient cells? (1)

ShadowBot (908773) | more than 3 years ago | (#33824000)

So how do you 'reward' it?

It's just a clump of neural cells. It's not like it has a pleasure centre or anything.

To be honest this guy's (Kevin Warwick) previous work tends to lend a suggestion of dubiousness to the whole thing.

His first project was "interfacing" the human body with a machine by sticking a RFID chip in his arm and waving it in front of a reader! That's just as high tech as putting a wireless card in your wallet and tapping it on a reciever.

In this case, it sounds like all he has done is set up a bunch of neural cells which he uses as tangled cables:
1. Send input through here
2. Find out where output comes from
3. Plug control there

I may be oversimplifying, but without giving the cells some sort of feedback for them to know whether thier result is right or wrong, you will simply end upwith random connections being made until the robot no longer works.

It seems like he is getting really good at sticking biological bits into machines (and vice versa) but not making any real progress in actually getting useful information across that barrier.

(Even his robot hand experiment is just a variation of the mind control gamepad computer game manufacturers have been working on, only in his case he transmits the signal over the internet.)

Re:Sentient cells? (1)

pinkushun (1467193) | more than 3 years ago | (#33823368)

I guess at this stage, the cells respond to the external stimulus in a very erratic way, and are quite 'unconscious' of the environment, if you will.

Maybe getting the external input into a format that the cells can interpret in an understandable level, and more cells are introduced to provide more 'brain power', then we will see intelligent learning.

Re:Sentient cells? (1)

RadioElectric (1060098) | more than 3 years ago | (#33824130)

You're confusing "unconscious" with "unaware". We are mostly unconscious of our environment in day-to-day life, that doesn't mean we go walking into walls, tables etc.

Human brains? (2, Interesting)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#33823022)

Say I have a terminal illness. It some of my brain cells can be kept alive, and given a robot body to motor around in, maybe its worth a go.

Re:Human brains? (2, Insightful)

voss (52565) | more than 3 years ago | (#33823044)

However you would still be dead and some robot with cultured brain cells from your head would be walking around.

Re:Human brains? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33823362)

In the case yes. But if it was possible t culture a full brain and in some way recover all memories from the dead brain to the cultured one?

What would distinguish the robot's brain from the original one? The cultured brain would have the exact conscious the original one had.

Descartes' "cogito ergo sum" would stand but it would be questionable if this is correct in this case.

In fact since Hobbes Philosophy has destroyed Descartes argument and no accepted substitute has been proposed. That of the "ego" is a very difficult question to answer.

Since this is theoretical and until we find a way to transfer memories from one brain to another we cannot experiment with this means that this is not natural science subject and just one for philosophy(or religion, if you like and approve it...I do not).

Re:Human brains? (1)

slim (1652) | more than 3 years ago | (#33823594)

In the case yes. But if it was possible t culture a full brain and in some way recover all memories from the dead brain to the cultured one?

It's a reasonably interesting thought experiment, but not a particularly new one (you don't even have to be particularly highbrow: Total Recall; Blade Runner; The Island).

Since you're speculating about almost completely sci-fi possibilities, why not just cure your terminal illness, or make an exact copy of yourself minus the disease (with some sort of molecular-level copier), or transfer your memories into a frozen clone of yourself, etc. ?

Re:Human brains? (3, Informative)

RadioElectric (1060098) | more than 3 years ago | (#33824010)

Continuity of the "self" is a very interesting question which was considered by the philosopher John Locke, among many others (I mention Locke here because Lost fans might be reading who hadn't realised the connection).

I think most people are familiar with The Ship of Theseus [wikipedia.org] in some form or another.

Re:Human brains? (2, Insightful)

slim (1652) | more than 3 years ago | (#33823306)

I suppose your reasoning is that if it works with cells from a rat's brain, it must have potential to work even better with cells from a human's brain, because humans are cleverer, right?

The thing is, there's not much difference between a rat's neuron and a human neuron, and both are very simple. In essence, they accept signals on their dendrites, and if the signals reach some threshold, they fire a signal from their axon, which typically is connected to the dendrite of another neutron.

I *guess* the advantage of using biological neurons instead of software or silicon is that it's easier to make/harvest vast quantities of them

But I can't see that human cells would be any better than rat cells, and just imagine the ethical objections from the God Squad!

Does not adhere to the Laws of Robotics test... (1)

h00manist (800926) | more than 3 years ago | (#33823030)

It wont pass the ARSENIC (Association of Robot-Society Engineered Non-Intentional Characteristics) approval test. It appears it cannot be controlled or predicted, and is at risk of harming humans and live beings in general. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three_Laws_of_Robotics [wikipedia.org]

Re:Does not adhere to the Laws of Robotics test... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33823072)

you can't ever control or predict learning machiens. That's the point of building a learing machien.

the genesis of the Daleks! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33823040)

Oh noes! This is the genesis of the Daleks! Right here in River City! The Dr. will be so disappointed in his favorite Brits.

Mad Scientist (4, Funny)

locallyunscene (1000523) | more than 3 years ago | (#33823062)

*Cackles Maniacally*

Now go, my ratbots. Go and wheel your way into the glorious future, heralding humanity's DOOM!

*More Evil Laughter*

Use cute and pleasant brain cells (1)

h00manist (800926) | more than 3 years ago | (#33823098)

Rat brain cells are not going to strike the right chord with people. I would use brain cells from an animal people are familiar with, and trust, like horses, cats, dogs, monkeys, or cattle.

Re:Use cute and pleasant brain cells (2, Funny)

FTWinston (1332785) | more than 3 years ago | (#33823420)

Rat brain cells are not going to strike the right chord with people. I would use brain cells from an animal people are familiar with, and trust, like horses, cats, dogs, monkeys, or cattle.

You might want to reconsider some of that. While fancy rats are inquisitive, friendly and sociable, a cat-brained robot would really be the most sociopathic cyborg I can imagine.

And besides, if they were to use cat brain cells, a lot more people would regard that as inhumane compared to using the poor rats!

Re:Use cute and pleasant brain cells (1)

MonsterTrimble (1205334) | more than 3 years ago | (#33823760)

While fancy rats are inquisitive, friendly and sociable, a cat-brained robot would really be the most sociopathic cyborg I can imagine.

Where the hell are my mod points?!? I used to have two cats (now down to one) and it doesn't give two shits about you unless it wants something. To quote Robin Williams: 'Is it me or are cats drag queens? With the way they just go (flaunts bottom), “Who loves kitty? Ya love kitty? Are these your shoes? (retches) Who loves kitty? Who loves kitty?”'

Guy Ben-Ary was doing this five years ago (4, Informative)

ChrisCampbell47 (181542) | more than 3 years ago | (#33823102)

Guy Ben-Ary is an artist who did a residency at the SymbioticA Research Lab at the University of Western Australia and then at the Potter Lab at Georgia Tech. During that time he created a system where a culture of rat brain neurons controlled a robotic pen controller to draw "art". Further, the two components (brain and arm) were geographically separated and communicated across the internet.

MEART: The Semi Living Artist

http://web.mit.edu/shkolnik/www/meart/ [mit.edu]

http://www.fishandchips.uwa.edu.au/ [uwa.edu.au]

Re:Guy Ben-Ary was doing this five years ago (1)

srussia (884021) | more than 3 years ago | (#33823266)

+1 Informative

I wonder why /. doesn't have an "art" category. Or would that fall under "idle"?

Huh? (1)

Rik Sweeney (471717) | more than 3 years ago | (#33823182)

Kevin Warwick, once a cyborg and still a researcher in cybernetics at the University of Reading

Wait, he used to be a cyborg and then decided a change of career was in order?!

It's Bicentennial Man all over again...

Re:Huh? (3, Informative)

slim (1652) | more than 3 years ago | (#33823392)

Wait, he used to be a cyborg and then decided a change of career was in order?!

Kevin Warwick is a fanatical self-publicist. He implanted a chip in his arm, which was able to read nervous signals and forward them to a computer, whereby he could operate robot arms etc. By virtue of that, he proclaimed himself a cyborg. You can buy his book about it, "I, Cyborg" if you really want to.

Re:Huh? (2, Informative)

gtall (79522) | more than 3 years ago | (#33823566)

Over at TheRegister, he's known as Captain Cyborg. They appear to have stopping putting up articles about him. I sorely miss reading about the insane antics of the Captain.

SingularityHub == public onanism (0, Troll)

benjfowler (239527) | more than 3 years ago | (#33823282)

Am I the only impression that the people who write for (and read) SingularityHub are either clueless attention whores like Jon Katz, or basement-dwelling nerds with a tenuous grip on reality (at best) fapping off to science fiction?

Re:SingularityHub == public onanism (0, Offtopic)

benjfowler (239527) | more than 3 years ago | (#33823316)

e.g. "SCIENCE!!111one some dweeb measures the action potentials in 15 rat neurons, THE SINGULARITY IS HERE *fap* *fap* *fap*

I am sure i remember hearing about this last year (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33823374)

on slashdot. Wasn't it just essentially some cells that had been jury rigged to produce behavior that look intelligent?

Skynet (2, Funny)

CrAlt (3208) | more than 3 years ago | (#33823508)

The SkyNet funding bill is passed.
  The system goes online on August 4th, 2017.
  Human decisions are removed from strategic defense.
  SkyNet begins to learn at a geometric rate.
  It becomes self-aware at 2:14am Eastern time, August 29th. In a panic, they try to pull the plug.
  And, Skynet fights back...and goes for the cheese.

Randomly wandering robot = Science? (2, Interesting)

vadeskoc (1374195) | more than 3 years ago | (#33823676)

I looked at the videos, but mostly what I saw was a robot semi-randomly driving around. Did they do some kind of experiment to prove they had done something more than set loose a stochastic system with wheels? I tried to follow up on some of the references, but after the second not-so-reputable journal with some kind of barrier to entry, I gave up. If I had done experiments in this vein, I would be yelling as loudly as possible about what tests I did to ensure this actually proves something. You know, so people wouldn't think I was just a crack-pot looking for attention. Doesn't help either that this is the same douche-bag that stuck a chip in his arm and claimed he was a "cyborg". In addition to not feeding trolls, can we avoid feeding media whores in future too?

Excellent! (4, Funny)

bratwiz (635601) | more than 3 years ago | (#33823784)

Now we have a viable alternative for politicians.

(And they can make their own robo-calls too! :-)

A brain in the loop (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33823992)

If you want to take this to it's logical conclusion, this is the book to read. [amazon.com]. Must've read this book 20 times.

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