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Brain of the worm digitized and loaded into the robot LEGO - VIDEO PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 20 December 2014 08:40

Can a digitally simulated brain to perform tasks on the computer as well as real? Simple commands - yes, it can. Researchers have recently joined the project OpenWorm simulated brain of the worm to a wheeled robot. Not being programmed to this, the robot moves back and forth and through them based only on the external stimuli and digital neurons.



Although these robots are already created by conventional software, scientists have shown that the brain can digitally modeled to behave like biological counterparts, and demonstrated the importance of this work for projects involving a large brain.

BRAIN Initiative in the United States and the Human Brain Project in Europe aimed at mapping the human brain, and one day may be able to simulate the brain in digital form. Such simulations can provide scientists understanding of how to proceed disease, or to make a breakthrough in the field of computer science.

But when it comes to simulate the brain - it is better to start with simple things. OpenWorm project started with the lowly roundworm C. elegans.

C. elegans - extremely modest creature, and so scientists chosen for his experiments. The first map of synaptic connections of the brain C. elegans was published in 1986, and in 2006 improved.



Brain of the worm contains 302 neuron synapses and 7000. For comparison, the human brain contains 86 billion neurons and 100 trillion synapses. Will we ever display the complete map of the human brain - a hotly debated topic. But as we have already mapped the synaptic connections C. elegans, scientists project OpenWorm decided that they can provide the brain of the worm several external sensors and give it a robotic body to carry out instructions that produces the brain.

As you can see in the video, the robot moves as any Roomba, with one important exception - Skill Roomba is programmed to avoid obstacles programmers. The motion of the robot OpenWorm - no.

Brain cells synaptic connections of the worm marked sensory neurons, motor neurons and interneurons (connecting two neurons). Team OpenWorm stimulate these neurons and their connections through software. Digital neurons summarize the incoming signal and are activated when they exceed a certain threshold (almost like in real life, though not quite).

Sensory neurons are associated with sensors of the robot - sonar, for example, which is located in the nose of the worm. Motor neurons are driven by the left and right parts of the robot, as if they were the left and right muscle groups.

Impressive? The robot behaves like a real worm when exposed to similar sensory stimuli. Of course, this simulation is not perfect, and the robot does not have all sensory input, which can be in of the worm, but the robot OpenWorm demonstrates that stimulation of the digital brain seems to work this - although we can not know the details of his work. Roughly speaking, the behavior of the brain produced spontaneously.

In this example, we are talking about simple behavior. But what if the scale results? Let's say you just kartografiruete human brain and make it respond to the virtual or physical environment - whether this brain demonstrate the qualities that we associate with the work of the independent human brain? Will be creative and consciousness? There is only one way to find out.


 

 


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