University of California-Irvine researchers are trying to connect rats and robots, with humans as intermediaries.

Jeff Krichmar, professor of cognitive science, is studying how dopamine and serotonin affect rats, translating those chemical effects into software, and using the data to influence robotic behavior.

Dopamine and serotonin are also involved with the sensations of pleasure and anxiety in humans.

“We’re trying to make the robot brain more like the human brain,” he said. “We mathematically model those chemicals and mimic their effect on behavior.”

Krichmar’s students Ting Chou and Liam Bucci recently presented the research results at the IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation in Hong Kong.