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Brain in a Dish Flies Plane
Discovery News ^ | OCT 22-2004 | By Jennifer Viegas

Posted on 10/28/2004 8:34:31 AM PDT by vannrox

Brain in a Dish Flies Plane
By Jennifer Viegas, Discovery News

Oct. 22, 2004 A University of Florida scientist has created a living "brain" of cultured rat cells that now controls an F-22 fighter jet flight simulator.

Scientists say the research could lead to tiny, brain-controlled prosthetic devices and unmanned airplanes flown by living computers.

And if scientists can decipher the ground rules of how such neural networks function, the research also may result in novel computing systems that could tackle dangerous search-and-rescue jobs and perform bomb damage assessment without endangering humans.

Additionally, the interaction of the cells within the lab-assembled brain also may allow scientists to better understand how the human brain works. The data may one day enable researchers to determine causes and possible non-invasive cures for neural disorders, such as epilepsy.

For the recent project, Thomas DeMarse, a University of Florida professor of biomedical engineering, placed an electrode grid at the bottom of a glass dish and then covered the grid with rat neurons. The cells initially resembled individual grains of sand in liquid, but they soon extended microscopic lines toward each other, gradually forming a neural network — a brain — that DeMarse says is a "living computational device."

The brain then communicates with the flight simulator through a desktop computer.

"We grow approximately 25,000 cells on a 60-channel multi-electrode array, which permits us to measure the signals produced by the activity each neuron produces as it transmits information across this network of living neurons," DeMarse told Discovery News. "Using these same channels (electrodes) we can also stimulate activity at each of the 60 locations (electrodes) in the network. Together, we have a bidirectional interface to the neural network where we can input information via stimulation. The network processes the information, and we can listen to the network's response."

The brain can learn, just as a human brain learns, he said. When the system is first engaged, the neurons don't know how to control the airplane; they don't have any experience.

But, he said, "Over time, these stimulations modify the network's response such that the neurons slowly (over the course of 15 minutes) learn to control the aircraft. The end result is a neural network that can fly the plane to produce relatively stable straight and level flight."

At present, the brain can control the pitch and roll of the F-22 in various virtual weather conditions, ranging from hurricane-force winds to clear blue skies.

Not Science Fiction
This brain-controlled plane may sound like science fiction, but it is grounded in work that has been taking place for more than a decade. A breakthrough occurred in 1993, when a team of scientists created a Hybrot, which is short for "hybrid robot."

The robot consisted of hardware, computer software, rat neurons, and incubators for those neurons. The computer, programmed to respond to the neuron impulses, controlled a wheel underneath a machine that resembled a child's toy robot.

Last year, U.S. and Australian researchers used a similar neuron-controlled robotic device to produce a "semi-living artist." In this case, the neurons were hooked up to a drawing arm outfitted with different colored markers. The robot managed to draw decipherable pictures — albeit it bad ones that resembled child scribbles — but that technology led to today's fighter plane simulator success.

Steven Potter, an assistant professor of biomedical engineering at Georgia Tech who directed the living artist project, believes DeMarse's work is important, and that such studies could lead to a variety of engineering and neurobiology research goals.

"A lot of people have been interested in what changes in the brains of animals and people when they are learning things," Potter said. "We're interested in getting down into the network and cellular mechanisms, which is hard to do in living animals. And the engineering goal would be to get ideas from this system about how brains compute and process information."

Though the "brain" can successfully control a flight simulation program, more elaborate applications are a long way off, DeMarse said.

"We're just starting out. But using this model will help us understand the crucial bit of information between inputs and the stuff that comes out," he said. "And you can imagine the more you learn about that, the more you can harness the computation of these neurons into a wide range of applications."


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; Extended News; Government; News/Current Events; Philosophy
KEYWORDS: borg; brain; cyberg; cyborg; data; discovery; dish; disk; fly; future; pc; pilot; plane; robot; science; technology; wire
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BORG HERE WE COME.
1 posted on 10/28/2004 8:34:31 AM PDT by vannrox
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To: vannrox

Yes, but can it land?


2 posted on 10/28/2004 8:35:59 AM PDT by thoughtomator ("!Allahu Snackbar" - the war cry of the pajamadeen - Let's stop VOTE FRAUD NOW! Write your reps!)
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To: vannrox

Forwarding immediately to our Flight Operations department ...


3 posted on 10/28/2004 8:36:17 AM PDT by LTCJ (CBS, all your Boyd Cycles are belong to us.)
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To: vannrox

Brains of rats? Are we using DEMS in secret experiments?


4 posted on 10/28/2004 8:36:35 AM PDT by bmwcyle (I wear sleepwear therefore I think (When they are off I am single minded))
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To: vannrox

This blob of rat brain cells already has a higher functioning level than half the voters in Floriduh.


5 posted on 10/28/2004 8:36:37 AM PDT by TexasRepublic (Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition!)
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To: vannrox

Brain in a dish.
6 posted on 10/28/2004 8:36:45 AM PDT by Rebelbase (Kerry hunting is like Bush going to a gay disco just to prove he's not homophobic (thanks QLA))
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To: vannrox
Man, I would LOVE to read the grant request for that one:

".... Then we take these rat brain cells and hook them up to a multi-million dollar fighter so that it can take control of the aircraft and fly it....."


Yeahhhhh riiiiight.
7 posted on 10/28/2004 8:36:46 AM PDT by taxcontrol (People are entitled to their opinion - no matter how wrong it is.)
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To: vannrox; Aeronaut

Aviation ping?

LOL


8 posted on 10/28/2004 8:37:54 AM PDT by Calpernia (Breederville.com)
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To: vannrox

Also see C.S. Lewis's novel, THAT HIDEOUS STRENGTH, where the brain of Merlin is resurrected in order to give power to the agents of N.I.C.E. (the National Institute of Coordinated Experiments).


9 posted on 10/28/2004 8:38:20 AM PDT by wjeanw
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To: vannrox

Unfortunately, it keeps wanting to land in Wisconsin.


10 posted on 10/28/2004 8:39:34 AM PDT by nuconvert (Everyone has a photographic memory. Some don't have film.)
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To: vannrox

11 posted on 10/28/2004 8:40:25 AM PDT by Slyfox
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To: thoughtomator

ROFL!


12 posted on 10/28/2004 8:41:37 AM PDT by Constantine XIII
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To: Slyfox

I saw this on "Dr. Who" when I was a kid.

Except they used pig brains.

Vorlocks? Something like that.

Possibly useful. Possibly scary as Hillary in a wet dress.


13 posted on 10/28/2004 8:42:11 AM PDT by MeanWestTexan
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To: vannrox

Just wait... those clever little rats will secretly devise a way to bite Thomas DeMarse in the @ss !!!


14 posted on 10/28/2004 8:43:01 AM PDT by GeekDejure ( LOL = Liberals Obey Lucifer !!!)
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To: bmwcyle
Brains of rats? Are we using DEMS in secret experiments?

Wait 'til DU and the ACLU get ahold of this.

15 posted on 10/28/2004 8:44:31 AM PDT by Paine in the Neck
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To: AdmSmith; F14 Pilot

Pong


16 posted on 10/28/2004 8:45:05 AM PDT by nuconvert (Everyone has a photographic memory. Some don't have film.)
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To: vannrox

Resistance is futile.


17 posted on 10/28/2004 8:45:57 AM PDT by FourtySeven (47)
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To: null and void; Darksheare; catpuppy
PING

So9

18 posted on 10/28/2004 8:46:26 AM PDT by Servant of the 9 (We are the Hegemon. We can do anything we damned well please.)
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To: vannrox

I wonder if my friend in the basement aquarium...whose stage name used to be "Donovan's Brain," could fly one of those too. I know he would enjoy it....doesn't get out much. He kind of had and unfortunate incident last time.

Anyway, what if the rat cells sense roadkill and suddenly land on the interstate to feed ?

Muttly love science.


19 posted on 10/28/2004 8:47:40 AM PDT by PoorMuttly ("The right of the People to be Muttly shall not be infringed,")
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To: thoughtomator

GEEEE-- I thought this was a story about sKerry and his pilot's license....


20 posted on 10/28/2004 8:49:49 AM PDT by ridesthemiles (ridesthemiles)
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To: vannrox
A University of Florida scientist has created a living "brain" of cultured rat cells that now controls an F-22 fighter jet flight simulator.

But can it coach football?

21 posted on 10/28/2004 8:51:33 AM PDT by dfwgator (It's sad that the news media treats Michael Jackson better than our military.)
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To: LTCJ
Forwarding immediately to our Flight Operations department ...

Forwarded immediately to the Kerry campaign headquarters and Al Gore's mother...

22 posted on 10/28/2004 8:52:58 AM PDT by Publius6961 (The most abundant things in the universe are hydrogen and stupidity.)
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To: vannrox

Been there, done that...

Dr. Daystrum's M5 Multitronic System
http://www.ericweisstein.com/fun/startrek/TheUltimateComputer.html


23 posted on 10/28/2004 8:53:57 AM PDT by ProfoundMan (Vicissitudes are spooky sometimes...)
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To: PoorMuttly
Anyway, what if the rat cells sense roadkill and suddenly land on the interstate to feed ?

I was thinking about the possibility of a domestic robot powered by dog brain cells, so that it would be incredibly loyal. Only problem is, how do you get it to cook with water that doesn't come from the toilet?

24 posted on 10/28/2004 9:01:28 AM PDT by hunter112 (Take this John and shove it!)
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To: hunter112

"how do you get it to cook with water that doesn't come from the toilet?"

Would that be important ?

Anyway, we don't cook....just eat.

....and eat......and


25 posted on 10/28/2004 9:04:17 AM PDT by PoorMuttly ("The right of the People to be Muttly shall not be infringed,")
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To: vannrox
Please, somebody tell me that this article is only fiction, written for Halloween.
Flying rat brains is freaking me out.
26 posted on 10/28/2004 9:08:05 AM PDT by Willie Green (Hawkins/Tonnelson in 2004!!!)
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To: vannrox

Now make a cat brain that flies an SU-27 and we have ourselves a game!


27 posted on 10/28/2004 9:08:35 AM PDT by ko_kyi
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To: ko_kyi

Why should we be surprised when "a living 'brain' of cultured rat cells" (or rather, one that thought of itself as cultured) skippered a Swift Bost in Vietnam 1968?


28 posted on 10/28/2004 9:16:35 AM PDT by 72virgins
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To: vannrox

WOW - I need to ask for a raise!


29 posted on 10/28/2004 9:18:06 AM PDT by IFly4Him
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To: vannrox

"Brain and brain! What is Brain?!"

30 posted on 10/28/2004 9:19:43 AM PDT by Cloud William (Liberals are the crab grass in the lawn of life.)
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To: ko_kyi

Flight sim huh, let me know when it can run Doom3.That would be scary.


31 posted on 10/28/2004 9:20:38 AM PDT by edchambers (Where are we going and why am I in this hand-basket?)
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To: Rebelbase

I see your dish and raise you a dish!!

32 posted on 10/28/2004 9:22:40 AM PDT by Toddsterpatriot (Hey, look at me, I'm a math major.)
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To: IFly4Him

bump

Now, if they can hook it up to my lawn mower, we'll really have someting!


33 posted on 10/28/2004 9:23:39 AM PDT by chuknospam
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To: vannrox
BORG HERE WE COME.

Not Borg. Berserker (Fred Saberhagen).

Classic shared universe series of stories by lots of the best writers around.

quick, learn and remember the phrase "I am goodlife!"

34 posted on 10/28/2004 9:26:12 AM PDT by Phsstpok (often wrong, but never in doubt)
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To: Toddsterpatriot

Find another dish and we can have a 3 course meal! :-)


35 posted on 10/28/2004 9:26:23 AM PDT by Rebelbase (Kerry hunting is like Bush going to a gay disco just to prove he's not homophobic (thanks QLA))
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To: Cloud William
O you are a Trekkie there Chief and son of Chief Cloud William... do you know the true meaning of the "E play neice ta" now?
36 posted on 10/28/2004 9:28:39 AM PDT by tophat9000
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To: Rebelbase
Find another dish and we can have a 3 course meal! :-)

Dessert first?

37 posted on 10/28/2004 9:32:00 AM PDT by Toddsterpatriot (Hey, look at me, I'm a math major.)
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To: vannrox

Abbe Normal.

38 posted on 10/28/2004 9:33:43 AM PDT by mewzilla
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To: bmwcyle
Brains of rats? Are we using DEMS in secret experiments?

Looks like it.

scientist has created a living "brain" of cultured rat cells

And...

systems that could tackle dangerous search-and-rescue jobs and perform bomb damage assessment without endangering humans.

That would mean that DemoRats could be used as a source for those brain cells, however it would take a lot of DemoRats to come up with just a few brain cells.

39 posted on 10/28/2004 9:36:26 AM PDT by Navy Patriot
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To: vannrox

It only takes 25,000 neurons to fly a plane? That explains most pilot's egos - they have a couple hundred million neurons left to spare for that.


40 posted on 10/28/2004 9:37:46 AM PDT by DreadCthulhu
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To: vannrox; TomServo
>Brain in a Dish Flies Plane


41 posted on 10/28/2004 9:39:50 AM PDT by theFIRMbss
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To: tophat9000

It is the Greatest of the Holies. Also, I still don't believe that the E Plebnista applies to the Coms. They are only for killing, despite what the one-named-Kirk said. :-)


42 posted on 10/28/2004 9:40:48 AM PDT by Cloud William (Liberals are the crab grass in the lawn of life.)
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To: tophat9000

Herbert! Herbert!

Don't listen to the grups.


43 posted on 10/28/2004 9:43:10 AM PDT by LouisWu (Great... another smarmy, self-referential tagline.)
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To: vannrox
Yes Pinky, once they hook our brains to the internet, we will take over the world!!!!!


44 posted on 10/28/2004 9:43:31 AM PDT by DannyTN
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To: vannrox; mhking

Damn!

45 posted on 10/28/2004 9:47:11 AM PDT by freedumb2003 (The cool points are out the window and you got me all twisted up in the game)
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To: vannrox

We have here a terrorist rat cell brain -- it can fly the plane but can't take off or land it. Look out NYC.


46 posted on 10/28/2004 9:47:47 AM PDT by citizen (Write-in Tom Tancredo for President/Jeff Flake VP 2004!)
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To: Willie Green
The minute I read this article, I thought of Cordwainer Smith's bizarre science fiction future in which the brains of animals (including, I believe, those of rats) are used as computers.

I'll admit there's something seasonally Frankensteinian about that article.

47 posted on 10/28/2004 9:50:05 AM PDT by Dunstan McShane
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To: PatrickHenry
Very cool science ping.

All your rat brains are belong to F-22s that are supercruise/Møøsë.

48 posted on 10/28/2004 9:51:40 AM PDT by Shryke (Rumpologist)
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To: LouisWu; Cloud William
Yea all we need is Kerry now to see the error of his left wing ways

..... "That! was the equation...existent cancels out programing!"

49 posted on 10/28/2004 10:00:05 AM PDT by tophat9000
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To: vannrox
I thought the USAF had been using these aircrew for years...8*)


50 posted on 10/28/2004 10:10:27 AM PDT by pabianice
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