Swedish researchers create first 'living computer' using human brain tissue

BNE News Desk

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New Delhi: Swedish researchers have created the first "living computer" using human brain tissue. This innovative computer setup, comprising 16 organoids, marks a significant milestone in the field of biological computing.

As per reports, the organoids, clusters of brain cells grown in a laboratory, are capable of exchanging information with one another. Functioning similarly to a regular computer chip, they transmit and receive signals via their neurons, which act as circuits. What sets these organoids apart is their remarkably low energy consumption. Living neurons consume nearly a million times less energy than traditional digital processors, making this technology highly efficient.

Notably, when compared to top-tier computers such as the HP Enterprise Frontier, the human brain operates at the same speed but with 1,000 times more memory, consuming only 10 to 20 watts of power. In stark contrast, the HP Enterprise Frontier requires 21 megawatts—one megawatt equaling one million watts.

According to reports, this living machine was created by scientists at FinalSpark, a company specializing in solutions based on biological neural networks. Dr. Fred Jordan, co-CEO of FinalSpark, explained, "This idea is common in science fiction, but there isn’t a huge amount of real research on it.”

Organoids are small, self-organizing three-dimensional tissue cultures derived from stem cells. These cultures can mimic much of the complexity of an organ or express specific aspects of it, such as producing particular types of cells. The researchers at FinalSpark cultivated stem cells for approximately a month until they developed neuronal features. The mini-brains created by FinalSpark consist of an estimated 10,000 living neurons, each roughly 0.5mm in diameter.

To train the organoids, scientists used doses of dopamine. When tasks are performed correctly, the organoids receive a stream of this chemical as a reward. This process is facilitated by shining light on a specific area of the brain organoid, mirroring the activation process in the human brain. The mini-brains are surrounded by eight electrodes that measure activity within the organoids. Researchers can also send current through these electrodes to influence neuronal activity.

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BNE News Desk