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  (Source: wired.com)
The artificial cerebellum gave the rat, which had brain damage, the ability to function properly again

Researchers at Tel Aviv University in Israel have placed a tiny, robotic cerebellum into the skull of a rat in an effort to help it regain movement.

Matti Mintz, a professor at Tel Aviv University's Department of Psychology, placed the computer chip brain into a rat with brain damage, allowing the rodent to achieve normal body function.

The computer chip is wired into the rat's brain with electrodes, and takes in sensory information from the rodent's body. This information is then interpreted, and sends messages back out to the brain stem. These messages are relayed to the rest of the body, which gives the rat its ability to move normally again despite its brain damage.

To make sure the robotic cerebellum worked, the Tel Aviv researchers trained the rat to blink when it heard a tone. When the artificial cerebellum was turned on, the rat would blink, and when it was turned off, it would not.

"It's proof of concept that we can record information from the brain, analyze it in a way similar to the biological network, and return it to the brain," said Mintz.

This sort of research could eventually be used to create artificial limbs for amputees.

Sources: Tel Aviv University , Robotics Wire, ABC News





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