A C. elegans adult and a polarized embryo
Flickr/Nathan Goehring/The Journal of Cell Biology
The cellular structure of a roundworm.

This Lego robot is controlled entirely by a worm’s brain

By Kabir Chibber

This is a video of a robot made from Legos being controlled by the brain of a caenorhabditis elegans, a simple roundworm:

Scientists with the Open Worm project took the connections between the 302 neurons of a worm’s brain and simulated them in software, which they uploaded to a simple robot made of Legos.

You can see the robot reacting to its sensory environment via a sonar sensor in place of the body and motors down its side. ”The behavior is impressive considering that no instructions were programmed into this robot,” Smithsonian magazine noted. “All it has is a network of connections mimicking those in the brain of a worm.”

The ultimate goal of the Open Worm project is to create a virtual worm inside a computer. So, weird as it seems, this odd endeavor is perhaps a tiny step towards one day uploading a human brain into a computer.