Scientists have combined human eyes and rat brain together in a robot in order to enable it to navigate intelligently.
The researchers at Queensland University of Technology used new computer algorithms to enable robots to navigate unrestricted by high-density buildings or tunnels.
Researcher Michael Milford said that this was a very Frankenstein type of project, which had put two halves of a thing together, like taking the eyes of a human and linking them up with the brain of a rat.
Milford added that a rodent's spatial memory was strong but had very poor vision while humans could easily recognize where they were because of eyesight.
He continued that they had existing research, software algorithms in robots to model the human and rat brain and they would plug in the two pieces of software together on a robot moving around in an environment and see what happens.
According to Milford, the brain's spatial navigation capabilities degrade early in diseases like Alzheimer's, so it has relevance as a potential study mechanism for studying mental disease as well.
The research project could revolutionise advances in neuroscience and new technology and could have benefits for manufacturing, environmental management and aged health.
The study is published in the British journal Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B.