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Human Brain Cells In Computer Chips

Instead of putting computer chips into brains as Elon Musk is promoting, Australian researchers are having success with the opposite approach, by placing brain cells in computer chips.
The researchers started with mouse neurons but now only use human neurons which are grown in a laboratory and are not taken from humans but instead human skin cells are morphed into stem cells which then are morphed into actual human neurons.

When the cells are placed on top of a matrix of tiny microscopic electrodes they are encouraged to grow there, creating a mat of human cells across the electrode matrix. The electrodes are then used to stimulate the neurons creating an input/ output effect.
An FPGA (Field Programmable Gate Array) is used to remove data from the system. Neurons are stimulated with a faint electrical signal from the electrodes in order to facilitate the production of data.
Because it is ‘alive’, the matrix of neurons requires nutrients in order to survive and operate (sugar water).

As proof of concept, a computer using this organic technology has been programmed to play ‘Pong’ which is a classic game where a ball bounces from side to side of a two dimensional field. The whereabouts of the ball is anticipated by the computer and paddled from once side of the field to the other.
Neurons are given a reward or punishment stimulus based on whether they correctly paddle the ball or not. Researches have found that the most efficient way to punish neurons is with an absence of stimulus or by completely cutting them off from the game world, they are placed in an electronic ‘dark room’. It has been discovered that neurons will self organise themselves in such a way to avoid punishment and maximise reward. This is achieved using by the neurons using short term and long term memory.

A system like this uses a very tiny amount of power (electricity) just as a human brain does. The only issue that could hold back this technology is the lack of an immune system for the neurons to protect themselves with. Contamination of the neurons is possible, they can get sick.
Is it ethical to use live neurons? Like any technology, it comes down to how it is being used.

To watch an indepth video describing this remarkable sci-fact technology, click here.

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