How computers could one day harness the power of the human brain

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Researchers in the US have succeeded in connecting human brain cells to an electronic chip and carrying out basic computational tasks. This type of experiment could lead to the future development of new hybrid tools, such as computers, partly made up of human cells grown in a laboratory.

The project, dubbed “Brainoware”, is the work of researchers at Indiana University Bloomington. They connected brain organoids – 3D cellular structures grown in the laboratory that mimic the functioning of an organ (in this case, brain cells) – to thousands of electrodes. These electrical circuits were able to respond to information inputted via electronic pulses. In this first experiment, Brainoware demonstrated its ability to learn and communicate. For example, the researchers trained it, via AI, to recognise human voices with 78% accuracy.

This research, published in the journal Nature Electronics, paves the way for a new generation of “biocomputers” – hybrid computers that combine human brain power with a machine to perform complex calculations. Ultimately, this technology could revolutionise many fields, including robotics.

It could be used to create robots that are more intelligent, more autonomous and capable of interacting with humans in a more natural way. In healthcare, this technology could be useful in the development of new treatments for neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease. It could also be used to test the efficacy and toxicity of different treatments.

The concept of organoid intelligence is still in its infancy. Organoids are miniaturized and simplified versions of an organ produced in vitro. They are made up of stem cells that develop and organise themselves to reproduce the characteristics of a specific organ, such as the brain. The idea is then to combine them with “intelligent” chips to boost their potential, potentially revolutionising the world of artificial intelligence. – AFP Relaxnews

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