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 Rat Brain Controls Fighter Jet

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Date posted: 11/05/2006

A computer constructed from a hybrid of silicon chips and a culture of living rat brain cells has been trained to fly an F-22 fighter jet simulator by scientists from the University of Florida.

The "brain", grown from 25,000 neural cells extracted from a single rat embryo, have been suspended in a specialised liquid to keep them alive and then laid across a grid of 60 electrodes in a small glass dish.

Under the microscope they looked at first like grains of sand, but soon the cells begin to connect to form what scientists are calling a "live computation device", and what everyone else calls "a brain".

The brain was linked to the jet simulator. Manipulated by the electrodes and a desktop computer, it was taught to control the flight path, even in mock hurricane-strength winds.

"When we first hooked them up, the plane 'crashed' all the time," Dr DeMarse said. "But over time, the neural network slowly adapts as the brain learns to control the pitch and roll of the aircraft. After a while, it produces a nice straight and level trajectory."

See the full Story via external site: www.theage.com.au



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