While this contraption looks similar to a doggy wheelchair or a pair of prosthetic legs for your favorite pet, it’s actually much more sophisticated. This rat is hooked up to a prototype of a thought-guided robot wheelchair.
The robot-rat setup, known as Ratcar, is guided by transmissions from the rat through mini-electrodes implanted in its brain.
“We wanted to develop a brain-machine interface system aiming for future wheelchairs that paralyzed patients can control only with thought,” says Osamu Fukayama of the university’s Medical Engineering and Life Science Laboratory. “RatCar is a simplified prototype to develop better electrodes, devices, and algorithms for those systems.”