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A robot controlled by human brain cells could soon be trundling around a British lab, New Scientist has learned.
Kevin Warwick and Ben Whalley at the University of Reading, UK, have already used rat brain cells to control a simple wheeled robot.
Some 300,000 rat neurons grown in a nutrient broth and producing spikes of electrical activity were connected to the output of the robot's distance sensors. The neurons proved capable of steering the robot around a small enclosure
Warwick and colleagues can proceed as soon as they are ready, as they won't need specific ethical approval to use a human neuron cell line. That's because the cultures are available to buy and "the ethical side of sourcing is done by the company from whom they are purchased", Whalley says