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Swedish Scientists Create World’s First ‘Living’ Computer Using Human Brain Tissue

Swedish researchers have developed the world's first 'living computer' using human brain tissue, consisting of 16 organoids which are clusters of brain cells grown in a lab that exchange information like traditional computer chips.

Edited By : Aniket Raj | Updated: Jun 10, 2024 11:42 IST
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Living Computer

Many people are concerned about robots taking over human jobs, especially with the rise of AI. However, perhaps it’s the machines that should be concerned about us. Swedish researchers have developed the first-ever “living computer” using human brain tissue.

The whole computer setup includes 16 organoids, which are clusters of brain cells cultivated in a laboratory and capable of exchanging information with one another. They operate akin to a traditional computer chip by transmitting and receiving signals through their neurons, which function like circuits. What distinguishes them is their ability to operate with significantly lower energy consumption. This is due to the fact that living neurons can utilize more than a million times less energy than the digital processors currently in use.

When comparing them to top-tier computers like the HP Enterprise Frontier, scientists discovered that the human brain, operating at the same speed and with 1,000 times more memory, consumes only 10 to 20 watts of power. In contrast, the computer requires 21 megawatts. One megawatt is equal to one million watts.

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The 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, stated to DailyMail,” 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 created from stem cells. These cultures can be engineered to mimic much of the complexity of an organ or to express specific aspects of the organ, such as producing only certain types of cells. Scientists take stem cells and cultivate them for approximately a month until they develop features like neurons. The mini-brains created by FinalSpark were constructed from an estimated 10,000 living neurons, each approximately 0.5mm in diameter.
The organoids are trained using doses of dopamine. When they perform tasks correctly, they receive a stream of this chemical as a reward. Scientists administer dopamine by shining light on a specific area of the brain organoid, similar to how it is released in the human brain when a specific region is activated.
The mini-brains are surrounded by eight electrodes that measure activity in the organoids. Researchers can send current through these electrodes to influence the neurons.
First published on: Jun 10, 2024 11:40 AM IST

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