Thought-controlled rat wheelchairs?!

Thought-controlled rat wheelchairs?!

Postby Markus Waibel on 08 Oct 2010, 09:38

A thought-controlled rat wheelchair?
robotspodcast-ratcar.jpg (42.85 KiB) Viewed 10558 times

In a step towards thought-controlled wheelchairs, researchers at the University of Tokyo have built a small vehicle that carries a rat and is controlled via the rat's brain signals. In the experiment the researchers first recorded the rat's brain signals via tiny electrodes implanted in its brain and the recorded the vehicle's movements. They then suspended the rat under the vehicle and fed its brain signals to the vehicles motors.

Six of the eight rats tested were able to successfully navigate the vehicle, indicating a working neural control. While the current results are promising, suspending the rat under the vehicle made it automatically move along with the vehicle, which prevented the researchers from measuring the rats real movement intentions.

More at our colleagues at the IEEE Spectrum's blog: ... interfaces
Markus Waibel
Robots Podcast Team Member
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Joined: 27 May 2008, 17:32

Re: Thought-controlled rat wheelchairs?!

Postby Pius Agius on 09 Oct 2010, 12:43


I remember one of my childhood heroes was Dr. Doolittle. I recall pleasant summer days reading and rereading his many adventures. He actually talked to the animals in the novels written by Hugh Lofting. I have been an avid robot builder for many decades and would never consider hurting an animal in the process. I know we can continue our progress in robotics without having to injure, in the smallest way, any form of life. I was very upset when some researcher was using cockroaches for some type of cruel interface. We should,in this wonderous work ,try to emulate our good, kind and ever so nice Doctor.
Pius Agius
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Joined: 12 Mar 2010, 20:46

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