Duke University researchers are linking rats' minds in the hopes of restoring motor control to paralyzed patients one day.
Back in 1995, the WB network released an episode of Pinky and the Brain where Brain discovers that all his previous plans for world domination were thwarted because of Pinky's lack of intelligence (which intelligence was likened to a mule hoof). Brain then builds a machine that increases his partner's intelligence to help him with several plans to take over the world. All those plans fail after the much smarter Pinky advises Brain that all his plans are mathematically unsound.
As ludicrous as it may seem, researchers from Duke University have done something similar. They've developed a system that allows rats to think together over an electronic connection, thereby increasing their intelligence.
The researchers took a pair of rats, implanted an array of super-small electrodes directly into each one's primary motor cortex (which is responsible for processing movement), and connected the implants with a small wire. The implants translated the neural signals of movement from one rat into electrical impulses, which were converted back into neural patterns for the receiving rat. The connection allowed the rats to pool their resources to solve challenges. The researchers developed the process through individual testing of the rodents to solve a series of challenges. The rats were rewarded when the challenges were accomplished correctly.
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