Rat Brain Flies JetFlorida scientists have grown a brain in a petri dish and taught it to fly a fighter plane.
The "brain", grown from 25,000 neural cells extracted from a single rat embryo, has been taught to fly an F-22 jet simulator by scientists at the University of Florida. It was taught to control the flight path, even in mock hurricane-strength winds.
"When we first hooked them up, the plane 'crashed' all the time," Dr Thomas DeMarse, an assistant professor of biomedical engineering at the University of Florida, said. "But over time, the neural network slowly adapts as the brain learns to control the pitch and roll of the aircraft. After a while, it produces a nice straight and level trajectory."
The brain-in-a-dish was DeMarse' idea. To produce it, 25,000 neurones from a rat embryo were suspended in a specialised liquid to keep them alive and then laid across a grid of 60 electrodes in a small glass dish.
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