Cyborg Rat Controls Miniature Car By Thought Alone
Tokyo University's RatCar.
A cyborg rat that controls a tiny car with its mind may help in the development of thought-directed wheelchairs for humans. Called the "RatCar" by its Tokyo University creators, the setup involves attaching electrodes directly to the rat's brain, although this is not the first rodent robot of its kind.
Unveiled at the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society annual conference, the RatCar serves as a test platform for new electrodes and control software. Many current brain-control systems use electrodes that attach to the outside of the head, but the RatCar allows researchers to see if connecting directly to the brain can result in a more responsive machine.
So far, the results have been mixed. The Tokyo University researchers have had some problems determining whether the rat was controlling the car with its brain, or if the car was simply misinterpreting the signals and pushing the rat forward against the animal's intention.
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