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Russians create 'artificial human brain' - Russian scientists claim to
have developed the first artificial brain with the same intellectual
potential as a human...It uses pioneering findings in neurophysiology and
neuromorphology to produce a truly thinking machine, scientist Vitaly
Valtsev has told the Interfax news agency. He has warned of the potential
of the scientific breakthrough, saying the new brain could turn into a
Frankenstein monster if mistreated. The scientist said: 'This machine
needs to be trained like a newborn child. It is extremely important for us
to make it a friend, not a criminal or an enemy.' Mr Valtsev, a member of
the International Academy of Information Science, says the Russians have
succeeded where others have failed because they used a model of the
neurons in the brain in building the computer..." (15th April 2001,Ananova)
Craig Eisendrath of the Center for International Policys (Craig is a Senior member) .... said that in the STAR WARS PROGRAM A COMPUTER MAKES THE DECISIONS BETWEEN WAR AND PEACE!

Life after death experiment?
Click skull to lrft
Microchip implants courtesy of "digital angel" technology... Nanaotech's crowning achievement in minituration



Washington Post item?
This e-mail was sent to me wherein it was claimed the below article originated with the Washington Post.

CHICAGO -- The cyborg aims for the light and wheels forward. Another light
flashes and the cyborg turns. Again and again, like a bull in a ring, the
cyborg charges, sometimes veering right, sometimes left, sometimes moving
straight ahead, always looking for the light.

The cyborg is no RoboCop, but it is a revolutionary experiment in combining
a mechanical device with living tissue. The robot is controlled by an
immature lamprey eel brain that was removed, kept alive in a special
solution and attached to the hockey-puck-sized robot by wires so it can
receive signals from the device's electronic eyes and send commands to move
the machine's wheels.

"Until the recent past, people were using biological nervous systems to
inspire technology," said physiologist Sandro Mussa-Ivaldi of Northwestern
University's Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. "Now we've gone one step
beyond, to tap into the nervous system itself."

Mussa-Ivaldi's lamprey larvae are one of a large number of creatures whose
supple sensory resources are being put to work in a new generation of
animal/machine hybrids.

Mussa-Ivaldi is testing the lamprey brain's ability to control a robot, but
the long-term possibilities could be much more spectacular: learning more
about how brains work so electronic microprocessors can be developed to help
compensate for damage from strokes and other types of nerve trauma.

A wide variety of other similar experiments are unfolding in labs across the
country, where rapid advances in electronics and other fields have enabled
scientists to integrate animals and microelectronics. These experiments
envision a range of applications -- using bacteria attached to computer
chips to map pollutants, insects as part of sensors to detect land mines,
chemical weapons and narcotics, and rodent brains to help identify new

"There's a couple of things making this happen," said electrical engineer
Michael Simpson of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. "Even before the
mapping of the human genome was completed, there was an explosion in our
understanding of genomics and neural pathways in other animals.

"At the same time, [microelectronic] devices keep getting smaller and
denser," Simpson added. "Single chips are beginning to get complex enough so
that they can begin to work with biological systems."

In Tennessee, Simpson and colleague Gary Sayler have genetically engineered
bacteria to glow in the presence of chemical agents and affixed them to
microchips. The Rockville, Md.-based company Dynamac is licensing their
"critters on a chip" for applications that could include highlighting the
boundaries of toxic waste plumes, monitoring air quality or analyzing body
fluids to test for signs of disease.

In Iowa, entomologist Tom Baker has built a device for finding land mines
using tiny moth antennae that emit signals to microprocessors, which
transform them into different tones. The signals drop in pitch when the
antennae encounter the odor of high explosives used in mines or unexploded

In Los Angeles, neuroscientist Michel Baudry is using brain slices from mice
and rabbits to develop a system for warning soldiers about the presence of
chemical or biological weapons. The system creates an electronic blueprint
for a normal environment, so that when the balance is upset, an alarm will
tell soldiers to don gas masks.

Formidable barriers remain before scientists will fully benefit from critter
science. Animals must be trained and maintained. Shelf life of natural
tissue is a problem.

And so is size. University of Montana entomologist Jerry Bromenshenk has
trained bees to find explosives, and the Agricultural Research Service's Joe
Lewis has done the same in Georgia with parasitic wasps, but there is not
yet a practical method for tracking such tiny sentinels when they are flying

And at Iowa State University in Ames, Baker can read the reactions of his
moth antennae on an oscilloscope, but he doesn't yet have the electronics
that a soldier needs to discriminate between the signal he wants and other
odor sources.

Using animals to serve humankind is as old as training falcons to hunt and
dogs to fetch. The impulse is always to take advantage of animals' superior
qualities, and if scientists couldn't use the animals themselves, they have
tried -- and often failed -- to make devices that mimic their expertise.

Harold Hawkins, head of the Office of Naval Research's bioacoustics program,
notes that a dolphin can map the sea bottom in its mind's eye with "one, or
two, or three" pings from its echo-location system, while the world's
fanciest side-scan sonar needs dozens of slow passes to build the same

Other animals are just as sophisticated, but science is catching up: "We are
getting the engineering tools that allow us to plug into living systems,"
said Alan Rudolph of the federal government's Defense Advanced Research
Projects Agency, which has funded a number of critter projects. "We are
asking the question, 'Can we make machines with living components and make
them work?' "

Mussa-Ivaldi's experiments in "biology as technology" brought him and
colleague Simon Alford to the lamprey because it is a well-studied creature
with very large nerve cells and a brain stem that can survive for several
days in an oxygenated and refrigerated salt solution.

Using a microscope, Mussa-Ivaldi or his colleagues extract brain stems from
the squiggly, pencil-thin, 6-inch-long lamprey larvae under anesthetic. They
put the half-inch-long brain stem on a stand, connect electrodes to both
sides of it, and run wires to each side of the robot, an off-the-shelf
miniature from Switzerland called a Khepera. The robot is placed in the
center of a circular arena about 3 1/2 feet in diameter -- like a tiny bull

As lights mounted at 45-degree intervals flash on and off around the pit's
rim, the robot's light sensors send signals to microprocessors that
transform them into impulses the lamprey brain can interpret. The brain
sends signals back through another set of microprocessors, which produce the
electric impulses that drive the wheels. When the lights don't flash, the
robot doesn't move.

The lamprey ordinarily uses this mechanism for balance -- to keep itself
centered and upright in the water. As a result, the animal's brain will seek
equilibrium, and, indeed, in most cases the robot will turn to the light and
run toward it.

But if assistant Karen Fleming masks one of the eyes, the robot will first
travel in circles, since only one side of the brain receives signals -- "but
we hope it will compensate," and straighten out. It usually does, after a
few practice runs.

The effect is eerie, for it is clear that the brain senses the light. In
darkness, an oscilloscope picture is stationary, but when a light flashes,
the display spikes dramatically and the robot's wheels begin to turn.

"As you see it here," said Mussa-Ivaldi, watching the robot scoot across the
pit, "the lamprey brain is the only thing that makes it move." While the
team appears to have established that the brain can learn, Mussa-Ivaldi
said, it has not yet been able to keep brain function stable long enough to
test its memory. Mussa-Ivaldi is optimistic that whatever he learns will
eventually help researchers develop high-tech prostheses for stroke victims
and others who suffer nerve damage.

Training unusual animals to serve human ends has proved surprisingly easy,
in part because of the extensive research that scientists have done simply
to find out why they do what they do.

In Tifton, Ga., the Department of Agriculture's Lewis and several colleagues
had studied parasitic wasps for 30 years as a way to kill caterpillars in
farm crops before Rudolph's DARPA funded him to see if he could transform
his charges into sensors.

Lewis knew the wasp responded to smells it identified with food and with
reproduction. By feeding the wasps sugar water as he exposed them to the
odor of di-nitro toluene, an explosive akin to dynamite, he was able to
teach the insects to seek di-nitro toluene in the field. In Montana,
Bromenshenk has done the same thing with bees, also a DARPA project.

But having trained his "miniature bloodhounds," Bromenshenk had to be able
to track them electronically. Radio transmitters were too heavy, and
although scientists had had some success gluing microchips on the bees, the
process took too long. Bromenshenk is waiting for someone to produce a
"spray-on" chip.

In Georgia, Lewis has patented a hand-held "biosensor," and puts his wasps
-- much smaller than the bees -- inside. When the insects smell an odor,
they duck their heads to receive the reward, tripping an electric eye. Lewis
said such a device could work well searching for explosives at airports,
cocaine at the border, or even traces of disease in odors from the human

Baker's experiment with moth antennae, also funded by DARPA, may offer a
solution to the size dilemma, for it uses only tissue from the insect,
rather than the whole animal, and mounts the detector in a vehicle.

Moths use their antennae to detect different odors. Baker attaches
electrodes to the base of the antennae to try to develop an olfactory
"signature" for any odor he seeks, including high explosives. The eventual
goal is to put the antennae in a mobile cyborg that can both sense a land
mine and flag the target.

The system now works with a remote-controlled vehicle, Baker said, but a
trained researcher has to walk beside it to listen for the tonal patterns
that signal "hits," and find their source by assessing the wind

In the insect experiments, researchers are trying to pick one odor from a
barrage of competing signals, but in Los Angeles, the University of Southern
California's Baudry has reversed the approach by modeling hundreds of
thousands of signals that describe a normal environment. When something
doesn't fit -- a biological agent or a toxic pesticide -- a warning alarm

Baudry does this using slices from the hippocampus of a rabbit or mouse, a
section of the brain that forms new, long-term memory -- in humans, for
example, it links a face with a name.

The sophistication of the mammalian brain, coupled with modern computer
capacity, has given this research almost unlimited potential, for once
scientists assemble a library of responses, they can screen for practically
anything, including testing thousands of chemicals to see if one might
produce a novel medicine.

One barrier to the practical exploitation of critter devices is the need to
increase their life span. Baudry said his team has "almost, but not quite,"
developed a way to suspend the slice in a gelatinized nutrient that can be
activated with heat -- extending the shelf life to several weeks or

In simpler organisms, this hurdle can be lower. Oak Ridge's Simpson and
Sayler, a University of Tennessee microbiologist, were able to freeze-dry
and encapsulate bacteria so that they would activate when water was added to
the chip.

The Simpson-Sayler "critter on a chip," being marketed by Dynamac as an
environmental biosensor, grew out of Sayler's ability to transplant a
luminescent gene from a marine bacterium into another bacterium that
degrades pollutants.

When the second bacterium ate the pollutant, it glowed, demonstrating that
it was doing its job. If the researchers pasted a bunch of bacteria on a
chip, the microcircuitry could detect the luminescence and send a signal to
a remote display.

By salting a site with bacteria, scientists might map the extent of a toxic
plume. Installed sensors could monitor pollutants at water purification
plants, check air quality on spacecraft or warn of chemical or biological
warfare attacks.

"We're turning the bacteria into microelectronic components to detect
different substances," said Sayler. "You can engineer the organisms to eat
almost anything."