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 |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 1 )

Related News Stories - (" Biology ")

'Cortical Modem' Latest On DARPA's Wishlist
'...inside his skull... is a little cylinder, that neuronic receptor-transmitter.'- Raymond Z. Gallun, 1938.

Sea Slug Feeds On Sunlight With Genes From Its Food
'You've surely noticed the green skin tone of your new body.'- John Scalzi, 2005.

Forget Longevity, How About Super-Intelligence?
'It was clearly domelike and oddly fragile-looking...'- Philip K. Dick, 1964.

The Bioengineered Uterus
For women unable to conceive and carry a fetus to term, is this an answer?

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

Brainwaves As Biometric Identification
'The doors of Mr. Lars, Incorporated, shut, tuned as they were to his own cephalic pattern.'

What-If Machine Concocts Creative Premises
'Books were just a commodity that had to be produced, like jam or bootlaces.'

Underwater Balloon Gardens
'He puffed heavily as he angled around the bulbous lifezones...'

Storing 1 Zettabyte In 10 Grams
'It is theoretically possible to have a matrix in which each individual molecule has a meaning...'

Laser-Powered Spacecraft To Explore The Solar System
'Whoever launched it fired a laser cannon... for about forty-five years, so the intruder would have a beam to travel on...'

Skin Chair For That 'Sitting On A Fat Guy' Feeling
'The semi-sentient artifact glided to a position behind McKie...'

Pneumatic Micro-Tentacles Kidnapping Ants
'Long, flexible, glittering tentacles...'

Bee Narcs To Perform Drug 'Stings'
'Time for a replacement of both Behren and his dipterous insect...'

3D Printed Spherical Flying Machine
'Gold dots against blue, basketball-sized, twelve feet up....'

Airbus E-Fan All-Electric Plane Now Ready
I couldn't believe it, either.

Robot Swarms Improve Culture By Forgetting
'My mind was filled to the splitting point...'

Melomics Avant Garde Computer Musician
'Rollo sat at the keyboard, prim, inhuman, rigid, twin lenses focused somewhere off into the shadows...'

Nanotech Used To Create Custom Water Filters In Tanzania
'People started out squeamish about Clearsacs...'

This Robot Swordmaster: Yaskawa Bushido Project
'The instrument of prisms and target could not think, feel caution or remorse. And it carried a real blade.'

Samsung's Transparent Display Finally As Big As HG Wells'
Wells also figured out that 16x9 is the shape to have.

Thync Mood-Changing Wearable Device
'Very gently, hypnotically, the electronic pulses throbbed in the frontal lobes of his brain.'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.