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Harvard lets human minds control rats, private rodent armies remain distant (video)

Jon Fingas, @jonfingas
April 4, 2013
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Sure, we've seen rats control other rats, but that won't give us a legion of mind-controlled creatures to unleash upon an innocent public, will it? Harvard Medical School may unwittingly assist with solving our (rather misguided) plight, as it just experimented with a system that lets a human mind trigger actions in a rat's motor cortex. The test had sensor-equipped humans watch a screen that flashed in sync with their EEG brain patterns for visual stimulation; as soon their attention shifted to controlling the rat, they triggered an ultrasonic pulse that twitched the rodent's tail. There's a few problems with the implementation beyond the obvious lack of autonomy for the poor target creature, though. The rat's anaesthetized state likely affected the results, and the system isn't currently sophisticated enough to map specific thoughts to corresponding actions. The Harvard team is working to refine the technology, however, and there may be a day when we can satisfy our megalomania... or at least, put the Pied Piper on notice.

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