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Scientists build digital cerebellum for Roborat: to protect, serve and spook

Daniel Cooper, @danielwcooper
September 28, 2011
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You'd be forgiven if talk about Cyborg Rats made you think about precision gaming mice, but in this case we're yapping about the real thing. A team from Tel Aviv University has found a way to restore lost motor function in rodents by building a digital cerebellum. As the story goes, they anesthetized a rat, disabled its natural abilities and installed the device -- and were able to teach the chip to make the rat blink when a sound was played. It's all very early-days, but the hope is to develop implants to aid people with long-term disabilities -- or to ensure our sewers are crime free. For those not paying attention, rat-brained innovations are on the up: in June, researchers at the University of Southern California were able to construct an artificial memory, not to mention last year's Tokyo brain-car. After all this mistreatment, it wouldn't be a surprise if the Cyborg Rats sided with the machines in the forthcoming Robopocalypse. Which, you know, is exactly what we need weighing on our conscience.

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