Documenting the Coming Singularity

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Is This How We'll Talk to the Animals?

LiveScience - November 1, 2012

Biologists are well-known for using lab rats in experiments, but a few may now have the chance to work with rats in a unique way.

A team of engineers has set up a system that lets lab rats control a human-shaped avatar in a virtual environment, while humans control a rat-size robot inside the rat's cage. The result? A six-foot human and a six-inch rat get to interact with each other remotely, and they get to each get to see either a virtual avatar or a robot that's close to their own size.

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The research team created the setup mostly because it was a bit unexpected — "This particular implementation and experiment were mainly to show a highly novel application," one of the team's lead scientists, Mel Slater of the University of Barcelona and University College London, wrote to TechNewsDaily in an email — but it's also part of a larger effort to build a futuristic teleconferencing technology.

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