August 14, 2008

Robot works with a meat brain.

Source: ZDNet, from

Bot with Brain

The University of Reading’s robot and its “brain”; Cultured neurons in a multi-electrode array (MEA) with electrodes for communication between the neurons and the robot body.

In what has to be a ground-breaking event, the University of Reading’s (UK) Cybernetic Intelligence Research Group (CIRG) have constructed a robot that has an organic “brain” made of cultured neurons. Control of the robot is done completly from the brain, WITHOUT HUMAN INPUT.

The project is, surprisingly, not about creating a race of cyborgs:

This cutting edge research is the first step to examine how memories manifest themselves in the brain, and how a brain stores specific pieces of data. The key aim is that eventually this will lead to a better understanding of development and of diseases and disorders which affect the brain such as Alzheimer’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease, stoke and brain injury.


So, no robot/cyborg overlords. Not just yet… The main goal of the brain-bot is to study how the brain works in terms of memory storage. Of course, that doesn’t mean other applications are not possible:

(From Roland Piquepaille, ZDNet) The area of focus is notably the use of electrode technology, where a connection is made directly with the cerebral cortex and/or nervous system. The presentation will consider the future in which robots have biological, or part-biological, brains and in which neural implants link the human nervous system bi-directionally with technology and the internet.

There’s also this video (a 95MB video) about the bot and a couple of its creators (I’ll be checking it out when I have some time).

UPDATE: It looks like the video link above has “expired,” so here’s a video from New Scientist showing the bot in action:


This post has been filed under Brain-Computer Interface, Rise of the Robots, News as Cyberpunk by Mr. Roboto.

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