G4 The Feed - Thursday, December 13, 2007:
Let's face it, life is pretty boring for disembodied brains. What do you do all day if you are a collection of 25,000 rat neurons suspended in a liquid and laid across a grid of 60 electrodes in a small glass dish? If you're the brain created by (presumably mad) scientist Thomas DeMarse, an assistant professor of biomedical engineering at the University of Florida, you play videogames all day. Specifically, a flight simulator.
DeMarse linked his second brain to a jet simulator. Manipulated by the electrodes and a desktop computer, the brain was taught to control the flight path of an F-22, even in mock hurricane-strength winds.
"Initially when we hook up this brain to a flight simulator, it doesn't know how to control the aircraft," DeMarse said. "So you hook it up and the aircraft simply drifts randomly. And as the data comes in, it slowly modifies the (neural) network so over time, the network gradually learns to fly the aircraft."
Had G4 known that the end result would be teaching disembodied brain to play videogames, they would have studied a lot harder in science class.