Did you know scientists have put a brain inside of a robot? Okay, so it’s a worm brain, but still, what does this mean for our future?

Researchers have programmed the brain of the C. elegans worm into a robot and the robot acted like, well, a worm. That may not seem all that interesting, but it is a step towards some major new innovations in robotics capabilities.

This innovation gives us another tool to better understand the organ between our ears and brings the possibilities of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to another level!

The College of Biological Services describes the Caenorhabditis elegans, or C. elegans as “a non-hazardous, non-infectious, non-pathogenic, non-parasitic organism.  It is small, growing to about 1 mm in length, and lives in the soil—especially rotting vegetation—in many parts of the world, where it survives by feeding on microbes such as bacteria. [The C. Elegans] is of no economic importance to man.” 1

Well, they had no economic importance until now.

Scientists have studied how the neurons in the C. elegans interact with each other and programmed them onto a computer chip that now lives inside of a robot. 2 Could this decade-long process of tracking every connection made in the brain of this worm end up giving us a better understanding of our own brains?

In this quick video below, Seeker explains how they managed to digitize the brain and what this could mean for the future!

Via: Seeker 3

Who knew a scooting worm robot could be so fascinating! What kinds of new innovations do you think will this research spur on?

If you’d like a little clarification on what Artificial Intelligence has traditionally been all about, just jump into this article:

20 minutes

A Tour of the Wonders of Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is quickly becoming a reality, and most of us barely understand what it means. No wonder there is a lot of fear and a shortage of wonder on the topic. Today we change all that with an expert guide!

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Oh, and we’d like to extend a huge congratulations to the C. elegans for being the first animal to have their neural interactions completely mapped! 4 That’s a pretty cool position to hold–we’re looking forward to seeing who will be next!

(It seems we owe them another belated congratulation, seeing as in 1998 they also became the first to have their genomes mapped. 5 Super cool! )

Stay open to new possibilities!

  • Sam

No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it” – Albert Einstein 

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  1. “College of Biological Sciences.” What Is C. Elegans? | College of Biological Sciences. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Feb. 2018. <https://cbs.umn.edu/cgc/what-c-elegans>.
  2. Busbice, Tim. “The Robotic Worm.” O’Reilly Radar. N.p., 07 Nov. 2014. Web. 20 Mar. 2018. <http://radar.oreilly.com/2014/11/the-robotic-worm.html>.
  3. “Scientists Put the Brain of a Worm Into a Robot… and It MOVED.” YouTube. Seeker, 11 Jan. 2018. Web. 27 Feb. 2018. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eYS7UIUM_SQ>.
  4. Azulay, Aharon, Eyal Itskovits, and Alon Zaslaver. PLoS Computational Biology. Public Library of Science, 8 Sept. 2016. Web. 20 Mar. 2018. <https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5015834/>.
  5. “Genome Sequence of the Nematode C. Elegans: A Platform for Investigating Biology.” Science Mag. American Association for the Advancement of Science, 11 Dec. 1998. Web. 20 Mar. 2018. <http://science.sciencemag.org/content/282/5396/2012.full>.

Sam has written and edited hundreds of articles since joining the EWC team in 2016. She writes about topics from the wonders of nature to the organizations changing the world and the simple joys in life! Outside of the EWC office, she’s a part-time printmaker, collector of knick-knacks, and taster of cheeses.