Rat Neurons In A Dish Now Playing Flight Simulator
In his excellent 1999 novel Starfish, science fiction writer Peter Watts wrote about "cultured brains on a slab" - a "head cheese" - that could pilot a plane as well as a person. Now, University of Florida scientist Dr. Thomas DeMarse has created a "brain in a dish" that can interact with a computer flight simulation.
(From Science Daily)
The "brain" is a small puddle of 25,000 living neurons taken from a rat's brain and cultured in a glass dish.
"It's essentially a dish with 60 electrodes arranged in a grid at the bottom," DeMarse said. "Over that we put the living cortical neurons from rats, which rapidly begin to reconnect themselves, forming a living neural network Ė a brain."
The individual neurons are distributed randomly at the beginning of the experiment, and are not connected. The aircraft simulation of an F-22 fighter jet feeds data into the grid about flight conditions; whether the plane is flying straight and level or not. The neurons begin to organize themselves, forming connections to each other. The neurons analyze the data and respond by sending signals to the plane's controls.
At first, the simulated plane drifts randomly. But the neural network slowly learns; currently, the brain can control the pitch and roll of the simulated craft in most weather conditions, including storms and hurricane-force winds.
DeMarse points out that, while computers have fast processing speeds, they can't approach the flexibility of the human brain. Certain kinds of computation, like recognizing a previously unseen piece of furniture as a table or a lamp, is difficult to program into a computer. Peter Watts points out this very same fact in his choice of living neurons as pilots:
Humans had always been able to integrate 3-D spatial information better than the machines that kept trying to replace them...
Read the original stories here and here. Read a short bio on Thomas DeMarse, Assistant Professor at the University of Florida's School of Biomedical Engineering.
Until now, apparently...
(Read more from Starfish smart gels)
Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 10/25/2004)
Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.
| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |
you like to contribute a story tip?
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add
Comment/Join discussion ( 24 )
Related News Stories -
Pun Generation Via Neural Nets
'You said you wanted him to be able to distinguish between laugh-power in different gags...' - William Tenn, 1951.
Can We Comprehend Deep Learning Systems?
'Youíve nothing remotely like it, so I canít describe it to you.' - Lewis Padgett, 1943.
Datagrid Model Generation Perfect For Eternal Cities Of Science Fiction
'... there was enough flexibility to allow for wide variation. - Arthur C. Clarke, 1956.
Amazon Echo And Google Home Should Have Morality Software
'The Dwoskin Morality Rating-Computer could 'spot the slightest tendency to deviation' from the social norm...' - Kendall Foster Crossen, 1953.
Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!)
is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for
the Invention Category that interests
you, the Glossary, the Invention
Timeline, or see what's New.
China's Artificial Intelligence-Enhanced Education
'The grey gas not only cut off his vision, but also his other senses...'
Orbital Manufacturer 'Made in Space' Gets $73 Million NASA Contract
'Mass-produced in the orbiting factories...'
Soli Gesture Tech Will Be In Google Pixel 4
'I enjoy watching this way, but - He waved his hand and the circuit switched abruptly.'
Uber Eats Pairs Cars With Drones
Fresh grub? Let's hope they aren't delivering grubs.
Space-Based Solar Power Roundup
SF writers popularized and elaborated on this idea a generation before the first patents were filed.
Lost Language Meanings Found By Machine Learning
'The autopilot would need data before it could begin a translation...'
'Aerogel' Sheets For Martian Gardens
'Sealed to the ground along all the sides, Honey, he growled...'
France's 'Red Team' Of Science Fiction Authors
'They're the only experts we have.'
Dim The Sun With Stratospheric Controlled Perturbation Experiment
'Those twin volcanoes; d'ye see them, Mr. Renner?'
Mashambas Skyscraper Farm Design Wins
'...a towering eighty-story structure like the office In-and Out baskets stacked up to the sky.'
Self-Driving Tractors From China Plan Ahead
'Machines that seemingly with full consciousness walked out into the fields to do their daily work.'
Jet-Powered Hoverboard Works!
L'audace, l'audace, toujours l'audace!
Nobe 3-Wheel Electric Vehicle Parking Like I, Robot
Spidercar, Spidercar, does whatever a spidercar does.
Michelin Self-Sealing Tires On Ford's Explorer
'...a seal of compressed plastifoam to save the air.'
Mushroom Eats Plastic, Saves Planet
Fungus Amongus, SaveUs!
Juggalo Face Paint Disrupts Facial Recognition
'... designed to foil facial recognition systems.'
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories