Somewhere in Florida, 25,000 disembodied rat neurons are thinking about flying an F-22

Researchers at the University of Florida have created a neural network made up of 25,000 disembodied rat neurons and hooked it up to a flight simulator on a desktop computer. The neurons, which are growing on top of a multi-electrode array (MEA), are fed information about the simulated F-22's horizontal and vertical movements by stimulating the electrodes, causing them to fire in patterns that are then used to control the aircraft. "It's as if the neurons control the stick in the aircraft, they can move it back and forth and left and right," says UF professor Thomas DeMarse. The cellsrapidly begin to re-establish connectivity within a few hours of being placed on the MEA. These arrays can both record and stimulate the action potentials of neurons near each electrode (electrical signals between neurons) as they communicate within these dense networks.

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