Scientists in Chicago have created the first cyborg that is controlled by a living brain. It works like a robot and thinks like an eel.

It has been created by combining the extracted brain of a tiny, eel-like lamprey with a high-technology robot the size of a cigarette pack. The brain is kept alive in an oxygenated saline solution. When it detects a light, the electronic eyes on the device send a signal to the brain, which commands thewheels to roll via a microprocessor.

“Until the recent past, people were using biological nervous systems to inspire technology,” says Sandro Mussa-Ivaldi of Northwestern University. “Now we have gone one step beyond, to tap into the nervous system itself.”

The inventors say it could eventually lead to the development of prostheses and machines to help stroke victims and others suffering from disability due to nerve damage.

The brain remains alive for only a few days, than another lamprey brain must be placed in the robot.

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