News Stories

The Rat Patrol

It's shocking enough to see a rat scurrying across your kitchen floor, but what if that "rat" was REALLY a remote-controlled spy? And even better, what if it wasn't a robot disguised as a rat, but a REAL rodent, being operated from a distance by remote control?

At a laboratory at the State University of New York, researchers are working on creating just that. Rats have an excellent sense of smell, so cyborg rats could be trained to detect the scent of land mines. This wouldn't even be a danger to the rats, since they are too lightweight to detonate them.

They could also be sent into collapsed buildings in order to sniff out humans trapped beneath the rubble In the February 16th edition of the Observer, Emily Anthes quotes neuroscientist Linda Hermer-Vazquez as saying,"They could fit through crawl spaces that a bloodhound never could."

Scientists began creating the "robo-rat" by opening up a rat's skull and implanting steel wires in its brain. The wires ran from the brain out through a large hole in the skull, and into a backpack harnessed to the rodent.

When the rat turned in the correct direction, the researchers used a third wire to send an electrical pulse into the region of the brain involved in processing pleasure.

"Rats!" is what YOU'LL be saying if you wait too long to get a ticket to the Nashville Symposium in May, where YOU'LL experience pleasure from the BEST kind of brain stimulation: good talk. It's selling out fast--click here to get YOUR tickets.



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