Cockroach Brain Research Helping to Build Smarter Robots

Published by , April 24, 2016 9:00 pm

(ColumbusDispatch) A research lab at Case Western Reserve University is using cockroach brains to help build a better robot. Video from biology professor Roy Ritzmann’s research shows a roach with wires leading out of its head; the tether is allowing the scientists to control the insect’s mind. “We want to build robots that operate like a well-trained dog,” said Roy Ritzmann, a biology professor at Case Western.  And that means robots that wouldn’t rely on humans to make every single decision, such as where to go next or how to get there.
Ritzman and his team have learned exactly which brain cells light up when a roach speeds its pace or turns left or right. And they’ve realized that roaches, like people, don’t use their whole brains at once. This is part of what separates humans (and roaches) from robots. Ritzman wants to enable robots to tune into what is important, ignore what is not so important and become “smarter.”

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