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 -
Mind Control Of Gene Expression In Mice
'We used your thought images almost entirely...'- Robert Heinlein, 1941.
No Cages In Future Zoos Is Zootopia?
'The park... twisted through specimens from every inhabited planet of the known universe.'
Electric Bacteria That Live On Pure Energy
'April 5, 1977; that was the night the waveries came.'- Frederic Brown, 1945.
Roboroach Now Shipping!
'A cable, here, from the controller to the interface plug... wires from that to the brain.'- Thomas Easton, 1990.
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.
Foodini 3D Printer
''...Food slot gave him flat reddish-brown bricks.'
Parrot Bebop Drone Pairs With Your Smartphone
'Over a radius of several miles Sonya's raytron apparatus could direct its flight [using] an image of all that the lens eye saw.'
SCRIBE Enables Distributed Genomically Encoded Memory
Genomic DNA for analog, rewritable, and flexible memory.
Artisanal 3D Printing By Martha Stewart
'Nanofax AG offers a technology that digitally reproduces objects, physically, at a distance.'
Knightscope Robot Security Guards Ready
'A robot guard appeared, streaking toward them across the field.'
Bullet-Proof Kevlar Woven Electronics
'Check the watch imprinted on his sleeve...'
USAF 'BATMAN' Wrist Display
'The tiny screen in the bracelet's center...'
CoBots - Collaborative Robots Ask Humans For Help
'Whenever a robot finds something it can't identify... You give it a good look.'
Shape-Shifting Carbon Fiber
'Its lines wavered, flowed, and then painfully reformed.'
'Digital Drugs' (Like Herbert's Semuta?) Dismays Saudis
'The effect (described as timeless, sustained ecstasy) is elicited by certain atonal vibrations...'
Mind Control Of Gene Expression In Mice
'We used your thought images almost entirely...'
Nixie Wrist-Ready Flying Selfie-Cam Drone
'He set his camera to follow him...'
DARPA Wants Airborne Launch Facility For Drones
This was tried with recon craft in WWII.
Lit Motors Self-Balancing Motorcycle
'He had never ridden any motorized device that lacked onboard steering and balance systems...'
Neuromorphic Brain-Chip Takes Flight
'Cultured brains on a slab.'
What Are Robots Thinking?
'Your clothes... give them to me.'
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories