Scientists have used brain implants and tiny radio "backpacks" to guide five rats through a maze by remote control, from more than 500 yards´away.

In this Pavlovian experiment, to control the rat the scientists implanted a set of electrodes into the area of the rat´s brain that controls nerve impulses from the right and left set of whiskers.

The rats were trained to move via another set of microelectrodes implanted into the medial forebrain bundle (the pleasure centre). These would be stimulated with electricity each time the rat moved in the "correct" direction depending on which set of whiskers was stimulated.

"The rats worked within their instincts. They appeared to finely calibrate their awareness of a difficult obstacle versus the pleasure they would receive if they overcame it," said Dr. Sanjiv Talwara, a researcher at the State University of New York, who helped to run the study.

The "Ratbots", he said may one day be used to search for earthquake victims buried under rubble, find land mines (BOOM!) or with miniature video cameras, spy.

Next comes robonoders