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AISB event Bulletin Item

WHITEHEAD LECTURE, "Robot control using living neuronal cells: progress and challenges", Wed 9 March, Goldsmith's College - Becerra.pdf
Contact: Prof. Mark Bishop,

5th Whitehead lecture, Spring term 2011, by: Dr. Victor Beccerra, Department of Cybernetics, School of Systems Engineering, University of Reading @ 4.00pm


ABSTRACT: Typically, mobile robots are controlled by means of an embedded computer. Recent EPSRC funded
research has been carried out at the University of Reading in which dissociated biological neurons have
been cultured, electrically interfaced, and employed to send commands to a mobile robot, and to receive
stimulation derived from the sensors mounted at the robot. In this way, it can be argued that the
interfaced neural culture is taking at least part of the role of the controller of the robot. The
principal aim of this research project was, by using experiments such as the one described above, to
investigate the computational and learning capacity of dissociated neuronal cultures. This seminar provides
an overview of the problem area, introduces the breath of ongoing research, and states a number of open
questions that may be answered by future research.

BRIEF BIO: Victor Becerra is a Reader in Cybernetics. He has been an academic at Reading since January
2000. He was previously a Research Fellow in the Control Engineering Research Centre at City University,
London, between 1994 and 1999. He obtained his PhD in Control Engineering from City University, London,
in 1994, for his work in the development of optimal control algorithms. He obtained his BEng in 
Electrical Engineering from Simon Bolivar University, Venezuela, in 1990.