[EAS]Rat Robot

pjk pjk at design.eng.yale.edu
Sat May 4 03:41:43 EDT 2002

Subject:   Rat Robot

This is a little weird, good material for a course on ethics, on Jesse
Helms, or Jose Delgado (with whom I almost collaborated on some
epilepsy research long ago before he relocated to Europe because of US
issues with his animal experiments).  --PJK

(from The Scout Report -- May 3, 2002)

Rat Robot

Boston Globe: Scientists Produce 'Ratbot' - First Radio-Controlled Animal

New Zealand Herald: New York Scientists Unveil Robo-rat

Considerations for the 2002 Farm Bill

Farm Bill Network Information on Use of USDA Conservation Programs

Intro to Jose Delgado
Dr. Jose M. R. Delgado

Scientist have created the world's first radio-controlled animal by
wiring a computer chip directly into the brain of a living rat. The
rats, each wired with three hair-fine electrical probes to their
brains, can be directed by remote control by an operator typing
commands on a computer up to 500 meters (1,640 feet) away. Developed
by Sanjiv Talwar at the State University of New York and colleagues,
this latest discovery in machine-based mind control not only responds
to a user's commands, but also transmits a sense of touch. "The animal
is not only doing something -- it's feeling something," said Talwar,
who also suggests the rats might be used as scouts for sniffing out
hidden land mines or for search and rescue teams that look for
survivors amid rubble. Unlike clunky machines, Talwar reveals that
rats have the ability to travel adeptly over rough terrain and,
therefore, might be more easily deployed in chaotic environments. Last
year, the US Department of Agriculture adopted regulations that might
someday limit such experiments if they're shown to cause unnecessary
harm or stress to laboratory rats and mice. However, an amendment to
the Farm Bill, now pending in Congress, would repeal these
protections. Sen. Jess Helms (R-SC) inserted the amendment in February
that would scuttle any protections for laboratory rodents or birds.
Helms asserted the regulations would only lead to cumbersome
paperwork. "Isn't it far better for the mouse to be fed and watered in
a clean laboratory than to end up as a tiny bulge being digested
inside an enormous snake?"

Mind control research projects is nothing new to the scientific world.
In the 1960s, Yale physiologist Jose Delgado proved he could influence
the mood and actions of animals through remote control. In one famous
demonstration, Delgado stood, unarmed, in front of a charging bull. As
the bull bore down on him, Delgado flicked a switch on a small radio
transmitter that sent charges to electrodes implanted inside the
bull's brain, causing the animal to immediately brake to a halt and
meekly walk away. Delgado also experimented with monkeys and cats, and
generated horror when he suggested the technology could be used to
limit obsessive and criminal behavior in human societies. For recent
press releases on the rat robot phenomenon, viewers may access the
first two links listed above. The third link gives information on the
status of the 2002 Farm Bill, as well as other major bills. The fourth
link provides information from the US Department of Agriculture Farm
Bill on use of USDA conservation programs. Finally, the last two links
provide information on Jose Delgado's research and practices.

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