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  Ratbots to the rescue
Updated 02 May 2002, 09.26
Ratbots to the rescue
Rats fitted with special implants in their brains could soon help find buried earthquake victims.

The remote control "ratbots" have been developed by scientists in the US, says Nature magazine.

  Click here to try the robot quiz!

Special sensors called "electrodes" are implanted in the bit of the rat's brain which helps them sense rewards. This means when it does something right, it feels good.

Buried earthquake victims could be helped
Buried earthquake victims could be helped

The scientists use a radio transmitter and laptop to send commands to a receiver strapped to the rat's back which sends the signal to the implant.

In experiments, scientists managed to make the rodents run, turn and jump to command.

They even did an obstacle course involving running down a ladder, sprinting along a narrow ledge and squeezing through a hoop!

Scientist Dr Talwar reckons rats move more easily than robots can, which makes them perfect for the job.

And he says they could even train the rats to sniff out humans in rubble from earthquakes in the future.

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Comments
Is it wrong to create ratbots?
opening quoteIf the rats can help save lives then why not?closing quote
Ellie, 13, Leeds
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