Live rats driven by remote control
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of The Guardian (One of the U.K.'s leading newspapers)
Posted: December 27th, 2006
Scientists have turned living rats into remote-controlled, pleasure-driven robots which can be guided up ladders, through ruins and into minefields at the click of a laptop key. The project ... is funded by the US military's research arm. Animals have often been used by humans in combat and in search and rescue, but not under direct computer-to-brain electronic control. The advent of surgically altered roborats marks the crossing of a new boundary in the mechanisation, and potential militarisation, of nature. In 10 sessions the rats learned that if they ran forward and turned left or right on cue, they would be "rewarded" with a buzz of electrically delivered pleasure. Once trained they would move instantaneously and accurately as directed, for up to an hour at a time. The rats could be steered up ladders, along narrow ledges and down ramps, up trees, and into collapsed piles of concrete rubble. Roborats fitted with cameras or other sensors could be used as search and rescue aids. In theory, be put to some unpleasant uses, such as assassination. [For] surveillance ... you could apply this to birds ... if you could fit birds with sensors and cameras. Michael Reiss, professor of science education at London's Institute of Education and a leading bioethics thinker ... said he was uneasy about humankind "subverting the autonomy" of animals. "There is a part of me that is not entirely happy with the idea of our subverting a sentient animal's own aspirations and wish to lead a life of its own."
Note: Remember that secret military projects are almost always at least a decade in advance of anything you read in the media. For lots more on this little-known subject, click here.