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Remote Controlled Bio Robot Rat Developed

Posted May. 03, 2002 08:41,   


Rats are likely to be used for dangerous jobs like detecting survivors from collapsed building through the technology remote-controlling rats.

A physiological research team, which is led by John Chaffin professor at the State University of New York, announced through science magazine Nature on the 2nd that it developed the way to control the acts of a rat by the signals from a laptop to the 3 electrodes the rat is carrying.

According to the experiment of the team, 3 electrodes are placed at the brain, which feels pleasure, and the rat`s left and right whiskers. Then, they send signal to the left whiskers to turn left, and stimulate the brain as a compensation for the correct response. When the rat turns right, no stimuli are given to the rat. As a result, the rat changes direction according to the signal from the computer.

The team said that the rat known as `ratbot` can climb and jump from a tree, and cross brightly lit open spaces, contrary to their instincts.

Making use of this technology, we can make ratbots carrying small video camera on them search for the survivors under broken down buildings.

Academic circles, however, raised ethical questions on experimenting human being instead of rats for bio robots along with the assertion that it is not a new theory to control a rat by stimulating `feel good` center of its brain.

Eun-Taek Hong euntack@donga.com