Chinese scientists have succeeded in controlling a pigeon's flight with tiny electrodes implanted in the bird's brain, state media reported.
Xinhua News Agency said the scientists at the Robot Engineering Technology Research Centre at Shadong University of Science and Technology can command the pigeons to fly left or right and up or down.
Scientists sent signals by computer to the implants that mirror signals generated by the brain to control body movement. These signals stimulate different areas of the pigeon's brain and cause it to respond to the command, the researchers said.
Chief scientist Su Xuecheng said it is the first such successful experiment on a pigeon in the world.
Su and his colleagues told Xinhua they hope the technology can be put to practical uses but did not specify what those might be.
It's not the first time scientists have experimented with animals and remote control.
Su had previously conducted a similar experiment on mice in 2005, Xinhua reported.
Researchers at State University of New York in Brooklyn said in 2002 they had developed a way to control rats using remote control signals. John Chapin, a professor of physiology and pharmacology at the university, said arming the rats with tiny cameras could one day allow them to be used to search for disaster survivors in places humans couldn't access.
And Japanese researchers surgically implanted a device in a cockroach in 2001 that allowed them to control its movements.