7 Bizarre Advances in Animal Cyborg Technology

#3. Animal Mind-Control Machines

Probably every cartoon villain ever invented some mind-control caps, and why not? What better way to get people to do your bidding than to just not give them any other choice? It's a perfect villain scheme.

Unless you're using it for sexual assault purposes, anyway.

On a probably unrelated note, scientists at Stanford have discovered that they can use colored lights to control the minds of mice. It's a field called optigenetics -- using light to control the mind. They were able to attach a device into the mice's brains so that when a blue light was shone on it the mice would run in a counter-clockwise circle.

Watch the video until about :20 seconds in, when that mouse totally realizes that he has no clue why that just happened:

Harvard, not to be outdone by their Ivy-League rivals, took it a step further and created a system that allowed them to cause roundworms to travel in various directions, stop completely, or even lay eggs on command.

Singularity Hub
Laser-controlled worms will be the hit toy of Christmas, 2019.

But then Oxford University blew both of them away when they went Total Recall on some flies and gave them false memories of a bad experience they never actually had.

What Were They Thinking?

You may be wondering what the point of all this research is, besides terrifying small animals. The fact is, optigenetics could be one day used to re-program the human brain to help people with brain diseases like Parkinson's. It may even potentially be able to accurately control prosthetic limbs as though they were real. Because, you see, the ultimate goal of optigenetics is two-way communications. That is, they want to be able to both read your mind as well as writing to it. According to those familiar with this whole ridiculous undertaking, "In theory, two-way optogenetic traffic could lead to human-machine fusions in which the brain truly interacts with the machine, rather than only giving or only accepting orders."

Which sounds an awful lot like "collaboration with our robot enemies" to us.

From there, it's only a matter of time before some mad scientist creates mind-controlled bears to round up his future human slaves.

"You're going to have to come with me, sir."

#2. Titanium Tooth Dogs and a Cyborg Eagle

During the recent assault on Osama Bin Laden's compound, reports came out that the Navy SEAL team used dogs and that they had been fitted with titanium teeth. There are even photos of this badassery, like this one from the Telepgraph:

And this one from Greg Eichelberger's Flickr:

But while America is busy upgrading its animals, what about the national symbol? Bald eagles are so cool that America sticks them on everything. You can't whip out a dollar bill without seeing a picture of an eagle looking like it means goddamn business.

Of course they're not perfect. Something is definitely missing, and that something is a titanium beak. Fortunately, science is on it.

Via Fox News
"Also, give it a chainsaw tail."

What Were They Thinking?

The doggie tooth replacement isn't done to make them more lethal -- it's done as a repair when the dog breaks a tooth or has some other dental problem. The dogs are expensive to train, and it's worth it to do expensive dental work rather than send them off to retirement.

As for the eagle, again it wasn't a plot to create a more perfect eagle killing machine -- it was all in the name of helping a wounded bird. We're sorry that not every example on this list hints at a horrifying future of enslaved humanity.

The situation here is that Beauty the bald eagle was found in 2005 with her upper beak shot off by a poacher and left to slowly starve. Bald eagles obviously need their beaks, not just to hold and eat food, but to preen their feathers, which is a big deal for flight. So mutilating a bird like that is pretty much condemning it to die. Luckily, this particular eagle was rescued by a group called Birds of Prey Northwest who rehabilitated her and, in 2008, they fitted her with a her new beak made out of titanium, because we're assuming adamantium was not readily available.

Thanks for nothing, adamantium hog.

As cool as titanium is, it's actually just a temporary fix. They're planning on replacing it later with something even stronger.

The Birds of Prey aviary where Beauty is currently located has decided not to release her back into the wild, saying that she's spent too long around humans now and that any prosthetic beak would never be a perfect replacement, but we like to think that they know the truth: If Beauty ever made it back into the wild, she'd hunt down that poacher, Kill Bill-style, and screw him straight up.

Via Fox News
Which she'll be able to do thanks to the eye lasers they're adding.

#1. Robots With Animal Brains

Hey, remember when we said earlier that scientists had made strides creating a primitive organic brain? Well some of you immediately thought, "Yeah, sure, but that's not going to truly rule until we can stick that brain into a robot body. How else will it kill us?"

Separation anxiety will soon involve servos and burning your house down with lasers

Don't worry, science is on the case! And we're not talking about theoretical shit, either. Robots that use animal brains is totally a thing now.

What Were They Thinking?

Probably just to see if they could, in 2001, scientists at Northwestern University built a hockey-puck shaped robot controlled by an immature Lamprey eel's brain. (We like to think that by immature, they mean it giggles when it hears the word "poop.") It even has little wheels on it, which it uses to follow lights that scientists shine on it, like a cat playing with a laser pointer.

Via sfgate.com
Explained in this comprehensive chart

In 2008, researchers at Reading University did something similar, building a wheeled robot controlled by a soup of rat neurons. They even made a video.

You're welcome. The little guy(s) was /were able to avoid obstacles, navigate around freely, and generally be an affront to all that God ever intended for this world and our race.

And then, in 2009, the final step into madness was reached. Japanese scientists built a robot that is controlled by a moth's brain. But this brain is special, you see, because the moth is freaking dead and its severed head controls the monstrosity.

Via BotJunkie

Somehow, probably through some sort of deranged alchemy, the scientists managed to get the moth's antennae and brain to continue functioning even after death. The antennae receive scent information from the air and transmit it to the moth's zombified brain, which the robot reads and uses to move around. What, you thought that we were building up to the prospect that some day science would build a robot using a human brain? Fuck that. They want a robot driven by a zombie brain.

To read more of Ashe's work, check out weirdshitblog.com and Bad Metaphors.

For more ways we've messed with animals, check out 7 Insane Military Attempts To Weaponize Animals and 6 Animals Humanity Accidentally Made Way Scarier.

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