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A Lego robot programmed to act like a roundworm may signal the next big leap for artificial intelligence.

The Open Worm Project is a group of programmers and scientists who have been developing an open-source virtual worm. Last year, the team was able to control a Lego robot with software replicating the behavior of the simple C. elegans roundworm.

To make it happen, the group built a digital recreation of all the worm’s neurons—software they’ve been developing for a number of years. Once synced with the software, the Lego robot began moving sort of like a roundworm. This was the first time the technology has been able to independently control a machine.

Here’s a demonstration of the software at work.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YWQnzylhgHc?v=YWQnzylhgHc

Project coordinator Stephen Larson told CNN he thinks the technology is 20 to 30 percent complete. The work is still awaiting peer review. Eventually, the group wants to create a full worm robot with a body to match the neuron program (since real roundworms don’t have wheels). The worm software will become available this June to allow more people to collaborate on the project.

CNN

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