Cyborg Rats Have Digital Brain Parts
Researchers at Israel's Tel Aviv University have found that is is possible to replace limited parts of a rat's brain with electronic equipment. The intent is to help people with diseases such as Parkinson's, by replacing faulty brain tissue with electronics.
"Imagine there's a small area in the brain that is malfunctioning, and imagine that we understand the architecture of this damaged area," says Prof Matti Mintz, a psychobiologist at Tel Aviv University who is involved in the international project.
(Researcher monitors a sedated rat)
They took advantage of the fact that if a rat hears a particular sound before it gets hit with a jet of air, it will eventually blink when the sound is played ahead of the puff reaching its eyes.
Prof Mintz offered the BBC a tour of his lab at Tel Aviv University
"We know how to blink. Currently, I'm blinking very freely," says Prof Mintz.
"We also know how to record that the animals are learning to respond to a stimulus - we plant electrodes around the eye, and record the muscle activity to see when the rat actually closes its eye.
"And we know that when we damage the biological structure [the cerebellum] the animal cannot learn this simple motor response any more, never again, and nothing in the brain can replace this learning.
"So after having studied this brain region, we constructed a simulation that works in a similar way to the original biological system - and when we see some recovery of the lost movement, it is clear that it is coming from our synthetic device and not from any other area of the brain."
My favorite example of this idea in sf is the microsoft from William Gibson's 1984 novel Neuromancer.
The counters that fronted the booths displayed hundreds of slivers of microsoft, angular fragments of colored silicon mounted under oblong transparent bubbles on squares of white cardboard ... Behind [one] counter a boy with a shaven head stared vacantly into space, a dozen spikes of microsoft protruding from the socket behind his ear.
"Larry, you in, man?" She positioned herself in front of him. The boy's eyes focused. He sat up in his chair and pried a bright magenta splinter from his socket with a dirty thumbnail.
From BBC; thanks to Moira for the tip on the story and a reference.
Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 1/24/2012)
Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.
| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |
you like to contribute a story tip?
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add
Comment/Join discussion ( 1 )
Related News Stories -
Epigenetic Memory's On/Off Switch Found
'They tied the memory to the bloodline and that was their record!' - Barbara Hambly, 1982.
Rabbit's Brain Cryogenically Frozen Successfully
'Even in the case of the most perfect freezing there is still some activity...' - Edward Page Mitchell, 1879.
Denisovans, Neandertals... And Us?
'But in far realms, among strange hominids, you couldn't shun each other, either.' - Larry Niven, 1996.
Gene-Edited Muscle Dogs From China
'Its skull was improbably high-domed and its eyes, deep-set, were disturbingly uncanine.' - John Brunner, 1975.
Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!)
is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for
the Invention Category that interests
you, the Glossary, the Invention
Timeline, or see what's New.
Ignition Interlock Devices Stopped 1.7 Million Drunken Tries
'Maybe the car was right...'
Man Filmed Sleeping In Tesla On Autopilot
'Mary Risling settled back for a little nap...'
Otto Self-Driving Truck Kits
'Trucks gulped packages and scurried like beetles...'
Humans Help Robots Identify Recyclables
'You give it a good look... then press the right button and in she goes.'
Is This Robotic Hand As Quick As Yours?
'V-Stephen's surgeon-hand, a self-contained robot of precision quality...'
DARPA's XS-1 Spaceplane
'They were more airplane than spaceship...'
Douglas Adams Your Babel Fish Is Ready - The Pilot By Waverly
'You'll need to have this fish in your ear.'
OMG! DIY Arduino Robot Vacuum Cleaner Like Bradbury's Mice
'Out of warrens in the wall, tiny robot mice darted.'
NASA Culturing ISS Walls For Microbes
'Collect organisms and dust for study...'
Siemens 3D Printing Robot Spiders
'The eight thin metallic legs were pointed downwards, balanced delicately...'
Implants Melt In Your Brain, Not In Your Hands
Implant and forget - they melt in your brain, not in your hands.
Baby Boomers Will LOVE Autonomous Cars (Trust Me!)
'Old people began to cross the continent in their own cars....'
ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet Tests His Suit
'The interior will be like airless and pressure-less space.'
DIY Method To Summon Tesla With Amazon Echo
'Thomas focussed the violet beam of a hand flash on a plate...'
AI Lawyer 'Ross' Gets First Job
'Why don't we just feed the bloody thing to LEX...'
MIT's Second Skin Enhances Original Skin
'I must care, or I wouldn't live in this lying skin suit...'
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories