YKK Forum

The Dawn of the Alpha Series is upon us...


Biological computers. If people were afraid that separation between man and machine was getting blurry, now the line disapeared completely.

I wonder if it would be possible to the use this to control a handmade-jet-powered ekranoplane... hummnmn...

- Z
Saturday, October 23, 2004

There's that and it could mean that someday we could be closer to using the brain like they did in Angelic Layer too. If they can figure out how to get a brain like that to control a machine what's to say that someday someone won't come up with a way for our own brains to control machines and then possibly have robotic arms or legs that could be controled with thought that would help amputees and those with muscle disorders be able to lead normal lives. The possibilities become endless once a group of scientiests unlock how to use brainwaves to control machines.

- Christine K
Saturday, November 6, 2004

The idea is great in a "gee whiz" sort of way, but don't read too much into it. Not yet anyway. The Potter Lab at GTech (and previously when he was at Caltech) has been using multielectrode arrays to study brain slices for years now. But as far as understanding how/what the brain slices are actually computing, it's still primative. Potter, and I assume his protege at FLU, hook up the multielectrode to a robot, so the slice actually controls the robot. But again, it's a loooooong way from doing anything useful.

(I do research with these multielectrode arrays at another Uni, so I follow Potter's work closely). It's all fun stuff; very interesting, but not practical by any means yet.

Fungi with brain waves? Now *that's* cool!

- K.D.
Saturday, November 6, 2004

Still pretty amazing that 25,000 rat brain cells could learn to fly a flight sim plane. Just by connecting them to a PC and letting them rewire them selfs. Says a lot about the flexiblity of the brain cells.

- Miah
Monday, November 8, 2004

"Still pretty amazing that 25,000 rat brain cells could learn to fly a flight sim plane. Just by connecting them to a PC and letting them rewire them selfs. Says a lot about the flexiblity of the brain cells."

On the other hand, if 25,000 rat brain cells could...would they? We hear about these potentials, but how often do we consider that along with the capabilities might come willfulness?

Maybe 25,000 rat brain cells would choose to implement more efficently something in their own genetic programming...like start a breeding program for crickets or an aggressive war against cats.

- seaweb
Saturday, November 13, 2004

Mammalian cortical cells are genetically programmed to form grid-type networks. These networks are pattern recognizers -- you give them an input pattern, and they respond by giving you an output pattern.

This is how the flight simulator is working: they simply encode flight info as some unique sequence of multielectrode stims, give it to the slice, and train it to fire a unique output pattern. Over time, every unique input pattern (i.e., flight scenario) will have a unique output pattern (i.e., pilot response) associated with it.

They could've just as easliy encoded colored shapes, snippets of music, prime numbers or whatever and gotten the slice to recognize them since the network doesn't care what's encoded. Patterns are patterns.

It's unlikely cortical neurons will rewire themselves to compute something other than what they're designed for. The body's DNA is fairly strict about that sort of thing.

Their work really is nice; I certainly don't mean to sound like such a naysayer or spoilsport because I was impressed too. On a related note here's another project that's pretty slick:


As far as YKK goes, this may be more relevant since it shows hardware actually mimicking a brain region involved with memory formation and retrieval.

- K.D.
Monday, November 15, 2004

What got my attention is not what the rat neuron network could do, but what it is: an artificial "brain" that was not grown, but assembled. This is what a cyborg was defined as. It is organic structures over a syntetic matrix, that works as a scaffolding for the cells. Combine that with genetically engineered cell strains (like the rats without junk DNA being researched now), and you get a combination of the best from both mechanical and biological worlds.
Humanoid automatons may never be actually build; the hybrid approach has been proved feasible by this experiment, in my humble opinon.

- Z
Tuesday, November 23, 2004

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