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 ")

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

Cambrian Genetics Says 'Print Your Own Genetically Unique Creature'
'The study of Nature makes a man at last as remorseless as Nature.'- HG Wells, 1896.

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.'

 

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

DJI Phantom Drone Now With GPS Blocking
'Workarounds were illegal and the fines were expensive...'

OMOTE Face Hackers At Work Video
'...a video-manicuring program came on line.'

Vroom! Your Car Or Truck's Engine Noise Might Be Fake
'... a sound tape to supply the noise'

Care-O-Bot 4 Personal Service Robot
'Beside her moved a gleaming robant...'

Skin Wearable Harvests Power With Triboelectric Effect
'He had tightened the chest to gain maximum pumping action...'

EDSAP Wearable Stroke Detection
'His Altec cephalochromoscope, around which he had built the pleasure part of his schedule...'

Brand Killer Helmet Blocks Real-Life Ads
'Some merely held the holos [ads] at arm's length.'

In Vivo Micromotors Powered By Stomach Acid
First in vivo study of artificial micromotors.

Synthetic 'Squid Skin' For Camouflage On The Way
'The small, chameleon-clad figures continued to advance.'

3D Printer 'Teleports' Objects Like Simak's Way Stations
'An entirely new being but exactly like the old one'

Laser Etching Makes Metal Super-Hydrophobic
'The water flowed off those walls without binding tension.'

Patient Walks Out With Fully Artificial Heart
'The throb of the robot pump gave him confidence...'

Radisens' Gemini Instant Blood Tests
An amazing lab-on-a-panel.

Nonhuman Artist Collective Keeps Robot Artist Earnings Until Legal
Pay the artists!

Argentine Orangutan Receives Basic Human Rights
'They wouldn't dare let the Fuzzies be proven sapient...'

Elon Musk, Google To Extend Internet Into Earth Orbit, Then Mars
'This was the center of Interplanetary Communications.'

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.