Scientists at the University of Reading have got a step closer to creating Cybermen – human brains inside a robot – after putting together a small robot that uses rat neurones to control itself.
The scientists have managed to grow around 300,000 rat neurones artificially in the lab by starting off with the brain of a rat faetus. These neurones have gone on to make connections with each other and work in much the same way a regular rat brain does, using electrical impulses to make the brain “do stuff”. The neurons are connected to a regular microchip, where they can be stimulated and the results analysed to see what happens. For example, they’ve built a robot on wheels with an ultrasound sensor, to spot when it is approaching a wall. I guess it’s like giving a rat the Bat-power of echo-location. Maybe.