Neural Flight Control

Abstract- The brain is perhaps one of the most robust and fault tolerant computational devices in existence and yet little is known about its mechanisms. Microelectrode arrays have recently been developed in which the computational properties of networks of living neurons can be studied in detail. In this paper we report work investigating the ability of living neurons to act as a set of neuronal weights which were used to control the flight of a simulated aircraft. These weights were manipulated via high frequency stimulation inputs to produce a system in which a living neuronal network would “learn” to control an aircraft for straight and level flight.



DeMarse, T. B., & Dockendorf, K. P. (2005). Adaptive flight control with living neuronal networks on microelectrode arrays. Proceedings of the International Journal of Computation and Neural Networks, 3, 1548-1551. (Invited.)


3:49 [21.2 MB]

Selected Media Reports

Bad Weather (small) .mov

Rat Pilots Jet into Tomorrow,” Imagine That! (Radio) Sponsored by the NSF. (2005).

Brain in a Dish Flies Plane,” Discovery Channel (2004).

Is that a Pilot in Your Pocket,” Wired News (2004).,1286,65438,00.html

Brain Grown from Rat Cells Learns to Fly Plane,” The Telegraph, United Kingdom (2004).

Rat Brain Flies Jet,” The Register, United Kingdom (2004).

Scientist Builds a Brain From Rat Cells: The Combination of Biology and Technology can be Trained to Fly a Flight Simulator,” ABC News (2004).

Brain in a Dish Flies Simulated Fighter Jet,” National Geographic (2004).