Category: Brain Science and Health

Disembodied Rat Brain Controls Robot

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rat brain robotScientists in England have done something that makes all the science fiction you’ve ever watched or read seem suddenly plausible. They’ve taken brain cells (neurons) from the brain of a rat, and put them in a bell jar. Creepy enough already, but just wait. They also made a little robot, with sensors that “speak” to the rat’s brain via bluetooth. The data the sensors collect is transmitted to the actual brain. In the bell jar. Then, the brain (in the bell jar) sends commands back to the robot’s wheels. Yes. In this way, the disembodied rat brain actually learns, and, using its robot body, figures out how to avoid walls and scamper about like a normal rat. The most amazing part? Since the brain cells only live for about 3 months, they’ve used several different rats. And guess what? The robot behaved differently with every change. This is a real, live, rat cyborg. Now you’ve officially seen everything (let’s hope!) Watch the video, it’s totally creepy and amazing.

Kill Your Television

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tv and the brainMy sixth grade teacher, Mr. Muir, was brilliant. He was kind, and funny, and encouraging, and he knew how to inspire even the most stubborn of his students (like me) to really care about learning. He had this thing in the classroom called the “what-is-it” of the week. It was a random weird item we’d never seen before. We’d have to figure it out what it was and guess at the end of each week, for a prize. There was also the “where-is-it” of the week, which was usually a photo of a place we’d never seen.

These things really stirred our imaginations. He was forever having us constructing things, sculpting things, writing stories… I remember being outside in the courtyard one spring, hammering away at a birdhouse. He was untiring in his zeal for teaching, and for his students. And I worked hard for him because I respected him. Mr. Muir also had a saying that I’ll never forget. He was known to randomly proclaim it in the middle of a lesson about something completely unrelated. That saying was…

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