Tuesday, July 29, 2003

Mondo Bizarro: Rat-brained robot does long distance art

"Working from their university labs in two different corners of the world, American and Australian researchers have created what they call a new class of creative beings: 'the semi-living artist'. Gripping three coloured markers positioned above a white canvas, a robotic arm churns out drawings akin to that of a three-year-old. Its guidance comes from around 50,000 rat neurons in a petri dish 19,000 kilometres away.

The 'brain' lives at Dr Steve Potter's lab at Georgia's Institute of Technology, Atlanta, while the 'body' is located at Guy Ben-Ary's lab at the University of Western Australia, Perth. The two ends communicate with each other in real-time through the internet (and webcam).

The project represents the team's effort to create a semi-living entity that learns like the living brains in people and animals do, adapting and expressing itself through art."


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