A team of Chinese scientists have managed to create a cyborg rat that has demonstrated impressive efficiency at solving mazes.
To create the cyborg rodent, the rat was implanted with electrodes in the brain and mounted with a wireless micro-stimulator on its back. The study notes that the goal was to illustrate how rat cyborgs are able to “expedite the maze escape task with the integration of machine intelligence.”
The computer-aided rats were compared to individual, regular rats measuring things like steps, coverage rates, and time-spent solving the maze. The results showed that the computer allowed the rat cyborgs to communicate, and it aided the rats in figuring out the shortest path they should take to complete the puzzle, steer clear of dead ends, as well as find their way through loops.
Note that the computer wasn’t controlling the rats remotely; rather, it was giving the rats hints that were designed specifically to help them make the best decisions in terms of direction and strategy.
Check out this video of the experiment:
This breakthrough is anchored on cyborg intelligence, where the integration of machine are biological intelligence are established using neural interfaces. Doing so means living beings are able to combine the natural cognition capability of, as this experiment demonstrated, rats with the efficiency and computational capabilities of a machine.
“These results provide a proof-of-principle demonstration for cyborg intelligence. In addition, our novel cyborg intelligent system (rat cyborg) has great potential in various applications, such as search and rescue in complex terrains,” the researchers explain in their paper.