Washington: A chip that
helped injured rats move can open the way to providing human
amputees with fully functioning robotic limbs, new research says.
The chip, mimicking a robotic cerebellum and implanted into the
skull of a rodent with brain damage, successfully restored its
capacity for movement, Tel Aviv University said.
The cerebellum is responsible for coordinating movement.
When wired to the brain, "robo-cerebellum" receives, interprets,
and transmits sensory information from the brain stem,
facilitating communication between the brain and the body,
according to a Tel Aviv statement.
To test this robotic interface between body and brain, the
researchers taught a brain-damaged rat to blink whenever they
sounded a particular tone. The rat could only perform the
behaviour when its robotic cerebellum was functional.
"It's proof of the concept that we can record information from the
brain, analyze it in a way similar to the biological network, and
then return it to the brain," says psychology professor Matti
The chip is designed to mimic natural neuronal activity.
In the future, this robo-cerebellum could lead to electronic
implants that replace damaged tissues in the human brain.