Select your localized edition:

Close ×

More Ways to Connect

Discover one of our 28 local entrepreneurial communities »

Be the first to know as we launch in new countries and markets around the globe.

Interested in bringing MIT Technology Review to your local market?

MIT Technology ReviewMIT Technology Review - logo

 

Unsupported browser: Your browser does not meet modern web standards. See how it scores »

{ action.text }

Researchers at the University of Reading, in England, have developed a robot controlled by a biological “brain.” Hundreds of thousands of rat neurons communicate via a multielectrode array–a dish with over 60 two-way electrodes that transmit signals between neurons and outside electronics–to control the movement of a wheeled robot. When the neurons receive signals that the robot is nearing an object, their output moves the wheels in an attempt to avoid obstacles. The researchers, led by neuroscientists Mark Hammond, Ben Whalley, and cyberneticist Kevin Warwick, suggest that by stimulating the neurons with different signals as the robot returns to a familiar location, they will be able to study how a brain stores data. Their goal is to eventually understand memory formation and disorders, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

Researchers have used live neurons to control robots in the past, but those involved a computer between the neurons and robot. One of the more public projects, MEART (multielectrode array art), turned signals from cultured rat neurons at the Georgia Institute of Technology into the movements of a picture-drawing robot at the University of Western Australia.

0 comments about this story. Start the discussion »

Tagged: Computing, robotics, brain, brain-machine interface

Reprints and Permissions | Send feedback to the editor

From the Archives

Close

Introducing MIT Technology Review Insider.

Already a Magazine subscriber?

You're automatically an Insider. It's easy to activate or upgrade your account.

Activate Your Account

Become an Insider

It's the new way to subscribe. Get even more of the tech news, research, and discoveries you crave.

Sign Up

Learn More

Find out why MIT Technology Review Insider is for you and explore your options.

Show Me