October 2004


I am The Cyberwolfe and these are my ramblings. All original content is protected under a Creative Commons license - always ask first.
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Flying Hamsters of Calontir

Ok, so it’s really rat-based, but it makes for a good headline if you’re familiar with the song.

A story at UF News tells how some folks at University of Florida dumped a clump of rat grey matter into a petri dish loaded with electrical connectors, and wouldn’t you know it, the whole blob grew itself into a neural network, establishing neural connections through trial-and-error, all on it’s own.

When DeMarse first puts the neurons in the dish, they look like little more than grains of sand sprinkled in water. However, individual neurons soon begin to extend microscopic lines toward each other, making connections that represent neural processes. “You see one extend a process, pull it back, extend it out – and it may do that a couple of times, just sampling who’s next to it, until over time the connectivity starts to establish itself,” he said. “(The brain is) getting its network to the point where it’s a live computation device.”

To see what this new mess of brain cells could do, they hooked it up to a desktop PC and ran a flight sim. Lo and behold, the fucking thing learned to fly a jet. In rough weather.

Now, they don’t go into tons of juicy details here, but the evil genius in me is going overtime on the possibilities.

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