Friday, July 10, 2015

Monkeys, rats form 'brainet' to move virtual arm, predict weather

Monkeys, rats form 'brainet' to move virtual arm, predict weather
It seems three monkey brains are better than one when it comes to performing simple tasks using only the power of thought.

Scientists at Duke University wired the brains of adult rhesus macaque monkeys to form a network, or "brainet," and observed them in their separate rooms as they were each given partial control over a virtual arm they could see on a screen.

When the animals worked together, they were able to synchronize their brain activity to guide the arm of an avatar, allowing them to reach for a virtual ball. Their reward was a small drink of juice.

One monkey acting alone could not move the arm in three dimensions, but three working together could control the 3D movements and reach the moving target.

The monkeys were connected only to a computer, but not one another.

However, in a second set of experiments, the team directly wired the brains of four rats together, and to a computer, to allow the animals to transmit neural brain activity to each other.

The team outfitted the animals with multi-electrode arrays in the motor and somatosensory (sense of touch) cortices to capture and transmit their brain activity.

Full story here.

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