Robot with Biological Brain

Posted on March 29, 2009  Comments (2)

The Living Robot by Joe Kloc

Life for Warwick’s robot began when his team at the University of Reading spread rat neurons onto an array of electrodes. After about 20 minutes, the neurons began to form connections with one another. “It’s an innate response of the neurons,” says Warwick, “they try to link up and start communicating.”

For the next week the team fed the developing brain a liquid containing nutrients and minerals. And once the neurons established a network sufficiently capable of responding to electrical inputs from the electrode array, they connected the newly formed brain to a simple robot body consisting of two wheels and a sonar sensor.

At first, the young robot spent a lot of time crashing into things. But after a few weeks of practice, its performance began to improve as the connections between the active neurons in its brain strengthened. “This is a specific type of learning, called Hebbian learning,” says Warwick, “where, by doing something habitually, you get better at doing it.”

“It’s fun just looking at it as a robot life form, but I think it may also contribute to a better understanding of how our brain works,” he says. Studying the ways in which his robot learns and stores memories in its brain may provide new insights into neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s disease.

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2 Responses to “Robot with Biological Brain”

  1. Edvin Kravic
    March 29th, 2009 @ 5:34 pm

    It is beyond belief!.. Though it was predictable that one day something like this will be developed. Maybe, in some decades machines will obtain minds comparable with human ones? Oh, life is becomming very interesting.

  2. Anonymous
    April 2nd, 2009 @ 5:10 am

    This is great! I mean Sci-Fi are now becoming real! But it’s scary, in this case, I don’t want any robot in my house that could learn killing by watching tele.

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