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Scientists in Tokyo are working on a brain-computer interface, which directly attaches to the brain. The so-called RatCar uses a rat’s brain signals to control a motorized robot. The rat hangs in the air, and the robot does what the rat’s limbs would do. The rat can control the vehicle wherever it wants to go, due to the neuro signals recorded from its brain.

Unlike non-invasive EEG-based brain-machine interfaces, the RatCar involves tiny implanted neural electrodes in the rat’s brain. Brain-computer interfaces like this could be a blessing in the future for people with locked-in syndrome or various other disabilities.

Six of the eight rats in the study appears to be successfully adapted to the new method of locomotion, although one of the researchers of the University of Tokio, Osamu Fukayama said it was unclear just how much the rat was able to control the device, as there were some unexpected results in neural measurements. The researchers still hope that the experiment will lead to a breakthrough in BCI technology.

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