The Sciences

NCBI ROFL: Phase 1: Build an army of remote-controlled turtles. Phase 2: ? Phase 3: Take over the world!

DiscoblogBy ncbi roflApr 22, 2013 9:00 PM

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Photo: flickr/Ollie CrafoordDo you have tasks that need doing but can't afford to buy a robot? Look no further! Remote-controlled turtles can do your bidding, from... um ... swimming in shallow waters? to ... uh ... walking really slowly on the land? Look, the point is that these scientists figured out how to make turtles do what they want simply by attaching a movable blinder to the turtle's shell. This apparatus allows the scientists to control the turtles' movements by activating their instinct to avoid obstacles (see it in action in the movie clip below). Turtle army!Remote Guidance of Untrained Turtles by Controlling Voluntary Instinct Behavior "Recently, several studies have been carried out on the direct control of behavior in insects and other lower animals in order to apply these behaviors to the performance of specialized tasks in an attempt to find more efficient means of carrying out these tasks than artificial intelligence agents. While most of the current methods cause involuntary behavior in animals by electronically stimulating the corresponding brain area or muscle, we show that, in turtles, it is also possible to control certain types of behavior, such as movement trajectory, by evoking an appropriate voluntary instinctive behavior. We have found that causing a particular behavior, such as obstacle avoidance, by providing a specific visual stimulus results in effective control of the turtle's movement. We propose that this principle may be adapted and expanded into a general framework to control any animal behavior as an alternative to robotic probes." Bonus video from the full text! http://youtu.be/Pm8Zj8EAQ8g

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