Scientists link two rats' brains over web to create remote control rodents

In a sort of bizarre high-tech version of the Shining, scientists have successfully linked a pair of rats' brains over the internet, allowing one to control the other remotely.

The experiment, carried out by Duke University in North Carolina, sees electrodes hooked up to a "encoder" rat in Brazil, which can then convert movement to a "decoder" rat back at the university. So the rat in Brazil thinks about moving and the rat in the US does it. Spooky eh?

The encoder rat is trained to press a lever while hooked up to the system. The decoder rat in the US then follows and operates a lever itself, with no stimulus at all. The signal sent is nothing more complex than a simple yes or no, so there is no chance of a master rat controlling minions and sending them to take over the world ... thankfully.

The reality of this is becoming possible with human beings - or even whether it would be ethical - is still a long long way off. What is more interesting, is that this experiment shows it is entirely possible to transmit thoughts themselves across the web, no matter how simple.

In other rodent-related news, scientists in Japan have managed to genetically modify a mouse so that it tweets like a bird. Honestly, 2013 does not sound like a good year to be small, furry and cute.