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  • Writer's pictureSarah Ruivivar

Brain Cells and AI: A New Hybrid Bio-Computer Era

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Ever wondered what happens when you mix brain cells with artificial intelligence?

Well, you get a potential new type of hybrid bio-computer. That's right, brain organoids, clusters of human brain cells grown in a lab, can now be connected to a computer chip to perform simple computational tasks.

Feng Guo and his team at Indiana University Bloomington have created a system called Brainoware, where a brain organoid is linked to an AI tool. This groundbreaking setup can process, learn and remember information, and even conduct basic speech recognition tasks. This research, published in Nature Electronics, could be the stepping stone to more efficient bio-computers.

For years, scientists have been exploring the potential of computers based on advanced biological systems. Guo believes that such computers could overcome some of the challenges faced by silicon-based computers, like data processing bottlenecks.

Interestingly, while conventional computers are superior at number crunching, the human brain excels at processing complex information using minimal energy. With Brainoware, Guo's team uses actual brain cells to transmit and receive information.

When the researchers applied electrical stimulation to the hybrid system, Brainoware responded, indicating changes in its neural networks. This suggests that the hybrid system can process information and potentially perform computing tasks autonomously.

In one test, Brainoware was used to solve mathematical equations. In another, it was given a speech recognition test, using audio clips of people pronouncing Japanese vowels. The results were encouraging, but with an accuracy rate of 78%, there's still room for improvement.

Despite the challenges, this research is a significant step towards the future of biocomputing. So, keep an eye on this space, as the fusion of brain cells and AI could be the next big thing in computing!

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