Friday, April 3, 2009

A Robot with an Organic Brain

Kevin Warwick has been building a robot with a biological brain in his laboratory at the University of Reading. Seed Magazine reports in a March 30th article titled," Researchers Have Developed a Robot Capable of Learning and Interacting with the World Using a Biological Brain" that Warwick's team spread rat neurons onto a chip with an array of electrodes. The neurons began to form connections with each other in what is described as a very simple brain.

For the next week the team fed the developing brain a liquid containing nutrients and minerals. And once the neurons established a network sufficiently capable of responding to electrical inputs from the electrode array, they connected the newly formed brain to a simple robot body consisting of two wheels and a sonar sensor.

According the the report the robot learned to avoid obstacles in its course through Hebbian learning, the strengthing and weakening of synaptic connections between the neurons.

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