'Brain' in a dish flies flight simulator
Thursday, November 4, 2004 Posted: 1251 GMT (2051 HKT)
(CNN) -- A Florida scientist has developed a "brain" in a glass dish that is capable of flying a virtual fighter plane and could enhance medical understanding of neural disorders such as epilepsy.
The "living computer" was grown from 25,000 neurons extracted from a rat's brain and arranged over a grid of 60 electrodes in a Petri dish.
The brain cells then started to reconnect themselves, forming microscopic interconnections, said Thomas DeMarse, professor of biomedical engineering at the University of Florida.
When linked up to an F-22 jet flight simulator, the brain and the simulator established a two-way connection similar to how neurons receive and interpret signals from each other to control our bodies.
Gradually the brain learnt to control the flight of the plane based on the information it received about flight conditions.