Retrospectacle: A Neuroscience Blog

Everybody Beat Me To It…..

Yeah, remote controlled birds…….crazy cool……

Scientists in eastern China say they have succeeded in controlling the flight of pigeons with micro electrodes planted in their brains, state media reported on Tuesday.
Scientists at the Robot Engineering Technology Research Centre at Shandong University of Science and Technology said their electrodes could command them to fly right or left or up or down, Xinhua news agency said.

“The implants stimulate different areas of the pigeon’s brain, according to signals sent by the scientists via computer and force the bird to comply with their commands,” Xinhua said.


  1. #1 rod.
    February 27, 2007

    Get a remote-controlled pigeon, equip it with GPS, radio and some grams of HE (high explosive) and there you go: a very effective means to assassinate someone.

    Maybe in the future, politicians’ security guards will shoots all birds within sight… just in case…

  2. #2 Shelley Batts
    February 27, 2007

    Remind me to never piss you off. 🙂

    Thankfully, I only use Pepper for the forces of good!

  3. #3 Cameron
    February 27, 2007

    After some quick calculations, I’m ballparking that I’ll need about 100 hard working pigeons to pull me in a little red wagon.

    300 pigeons and I can pull a reasonable ET on a bike impression. Gotta remember my raincoat, though.

  4. #4 Dave Newton
    February 27, 2007

    Real remote-control birds is gross 🙁

  5. #5 Shelley Batts
    February 27, 2007

    Real remote-control birds is gross 🙁

    Well, I am pro-animal experimentation (with proper rationale and pain-reduction methods and oversight, of course) and I use guinea pigs in my own research. So, it’d be hypocritical for me to criticize their use of birds, even if they are near and dear to my heart. Especially if remote-controlled birds might offer some real life-saving application. Personally, I’m quite glad they stuck with pigeons which some might argue as are dumb as a sack of hammers. And from a neuroscience-interest perspective, being able to influence the behavior through neural inputs really is quite a fascinating feat.

  6. #6 ivan
    February 27, 2007

    I wonder if they are able to command the pigeons when to release the end-product of their digestive process. If so, this might be potentially very important strategic weapon. But joking aside, I guess this stimulation doesnt really target the motor cortex, but some level more proxymal to the pigeons free will. It would be probably more complicated to immitate the complex sequence of the wings and whole body movements required for flying, specially if the pigeon has his own agenda. This, if really works, probably hijacks pigeons agenda in a particular way.

  7. #7 MC
    February 28, 2007
  8. #8 Rod.
    February 28, 2007

    Don’t worry Shelley, I have no access to such R-C pigeons, and I have nothing against you whatsoever, lol

    However, I suppose that Cheney should start bringing his hunting rifle along all the time. Next time a pigeon flies by, that may be an assassination attempt, ha ha

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