Brain In A Bowl Flies Simulator

  • E-Mail this Article
  • View Printable Article
  • Text size:

    • A
    • A
    • A

Someone once said he could teach a monkey to fly but researchers at the University of Florida have taken it a quantum leap further. The biomedical team says it has a dish full of about 25,000 rat neurons that can keep a PC flight simulator on the straight and level. "It's as if the neurons control the stick in the aircraft, they can move it back and forth and left and right," Professor Thomas DeMarse told Wired News. Now, the researchers aren't explicitly looking to replace pilots with rat neurons ... at least not yet. DeMarse said the team needed something for their neurons to do so they could try to decode the "language" they use to communicate with one another. After a few first-flight jitters (we all have them, right?) the rat neurons got the hang of keeping the simulated F-22 straight and level. "Right now the process it's learning is very simplistic," said DeMarse. "It's basically making a decision about whether to move the stick to the left or to the right or forwards and backwards and it learns how much to push the stick depending upon how badly the aircraft is flying." Hmm. We know some pilots who haven't quite grasped those concepts, yet ...