Robo-rats and Rat-bots

by Gordon Mohr

"You've got circuitry in my rat brains!"



"No, you've got rat brains in my circuitry!"



Two great tastes that go great together: rat brains and computer circuitry.



Scientists at SUNY-Brooklyn have wired a computer into a live rat's brain, allowing the researchers to remotely "steer" the rat, while a researcher at Georgia Tech has grafted rat neurons into a robot, allowing the rat brain remnants to steer the robot.



No word yet on when Comedy Central will televise a Rat-bot versus Robo-rat battle-to-the-death.



SUNY's Robo-rat (photo by Catherine Chalmers in NYTimes)
versus
GaTech's Rat-bot (photo by GATech Neuroengineering Lab in Technology Review)


Rattus norvegicus seems to have pulled far ahead of us homo sapiens in the race toward intimate mammal-machine symbiosis. We'd better rally, lest we find ourselves ferrying cheese to and fro for our new cybernetically-enhanced rat overlords.

Will our cybernetically-enhanced rat overlords be kindly or draconian?