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 -
Steerable Locusts Detect Explosives
Science fiction writers again provide a blueprint for the future.
Real Leather Without Cows Modern Meadow Biofabrication
'Plastissue, as any fool can see...' - WF Wallace, 1952,
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.
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.
'North Sense' Wearable Piercing From Cyborg Nest
'The fingers opened from the many-scaled stellarimeter grafted onto his palm.'
proCover Smart Sock Prosthetic Limb Enhancement
'Series of chemelectric afferent nerve-analogues, which permitted it to gauge to an ounce...'
Robots And AIs Will Replace Humans At 7 Percent Of U.S. Jobs
'And Mike took on endless new jobs.'
Human Doctors Still Better Than Computers
'Nowadays surgery was normally done by autodocs...'
FEDOR Humanoid Robot To Join Russians In Space
Am enjoying view of Russian robot.
BMW Self-Balancing Motorcycle - Never Put Feet On Road
'He had never ridden any motorized device that lacked onboard steering and balance systems...'
MicroTug Is A Micro Robot Beast
'And it had been dragging something...'
Linear Elastic Actuator in Parallel (LEAP) - It's A Hopping Robot
'...Probably the most grotesque forms of transportation ever invented.'
Smart Glove Controls 3D Printed Robotic Arm (Waldo!)
'Waldo flexed and extended his fingers gently; the... waldoes... followed in exact, simultaneous parallelism.'
Wearables For Animals Totally A Thing
'Twin deformities on either side of his skull had been engineered to house sensor units.'
Tomatoes From Sun And Seawater
'Hydroponics. Gotta almost do it, if I'm going way out to Mars without much supplies.'
Hadrian X Construction Robot From Fastbrick Robotics
Hope Hadrian is never a runaway!
Confirm 100 Exoplanets At Once! (With Video)
'My automatic astronomical instruments searching for a habitable planet.'
Blue Origin Tests 'Escape Pod' Capability
'I'm going to regret this...'
3D Printed Car Can Launch POV Drone
Just the thing for the Runaway squad - and you and me.
Japanese AI Forms Suicidally Depressed Personality
'I think you ought to know I'm feeling very depressed.'
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories