Last week, I wote about the robot controlled by a “brain” in a culture dish, and in that post, I mentioned that several other groups, including members of the Neuroengineering Lab at Georgia Tech, have been doing similar work.

Steve Potter, who leads one of the groups at Georgia Tech’s NeuroLab (and whose work I wrote about back in 2006), has now left a comment on the post, saying that the claims made by the University of Reading researchers are exaggerated:

I am disappointed to see Kevin Warwick again overstating things, but am especially bothered when it is about things we are also doing in my lab. He said there’s no computer in the loop which is clearly not true, and if you listen to Ben Whalley at the end of the interview, he even says the neural recording “…goes through fairly complex processing steps…” before it controls the robot. It has to. Robots and neural cultures don’t speak the same language and something has to do the translation. The difficulty with this type of work (and the fun, sometimes) is that we can only make educated guesses at the neural “language” since we don’t understand it yet.

I see nothing new here beyond what we and others (e.g. Sergio Martinoia and Suguru Kudoh) have been doing for the past 5 years. Believe what you read in peer reviewed papers.

Thanks for the comment Steve.


  1. #1 yogi-one
    August 19, 2008

    Danggit! I was plotting to take over the world with an army of robots controlled by a blob of my brain cells kept alive forever in a petri dish!

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