Breakthrough – Scientists Connect Live and Artificial Neurons into One System

  • The internet aided in the creation of the virtual brain from actual live nerve cells.
  • The artificial neurons came from Switzerland, electronic interneuron connection from the UK and the live nerve cells from Italy.
  • It is exciting breakthrough application for the prosthetics industry.

For the first time ever, the internet aided in the creation of a virtual brain using actual live nerve cells. This breakthrough and novel project was created with the collaboration from Italian, Swiss and British scientists. The artificial neurons came from Switzerland, electronic interneuron connection from the UK and the live nerve cells from Italy. All these were amalgamated into one functioning system. It means that a live nervous system can be collaborated with the technology into one.

The full spectrum of results have been published in the nature scientific report titled “Memristive synapses connect brain and silicon spiking neurons.”

The live nerves were collected from a rat by the University of Padua. This is the 5th oldest university left in the world. Specifically designed equipment for this project was used to read and interpret electrical signals that the nerves were sending. This equipment is capable of sending them via the world wide web to the University of Southhampton in the UK.

After UK scientists received the signals, they were transmitted to artificial contacts between neurons. The electronic synapse is the pairing of a memristor and a microelectrode made of a thin film of titanium oxide. A memristor is a non-linear two-terminal electrical component relating electric charge and magnetic flux linkage. It was described and named in 1971 by Leon Chua, completing a theoretical quartet of fundamental electrical components which comprises the resistor, capacitor and inductor.

The creation successfully imitates the properties of real synapses. For example, it can also increase its conductivity (this property is based on our short-term memory). Finally, the information transformed by the artificial synapse was transmitted to Zurich, where it was processed by electronic neurons.

The silicon chips used are based on CMOS technology (also referred to as a real-time clock). CMOS is an onboard, battery powered semiconductor chip inside computers that stores information. This information ranges from the system time and date to system hardware settings for your computer.

A three countries amalgamated into one system  

The chain works in the opposite direction: from Swiss artificial neurons through the English memristor synapses to the Italian rat brain cells.  The technology works in real time.

One of the biggest advantages of this technology will be its future use in the prosthetics field: Cyber prosthetics

The project is a trailblazer. In the future many scientists around the world can conduct experiments simultaneously and in real time. It is a big breakthrough for the bionic field. Nevertheless, it also brings up certain risks of being hacked and someone control your activities. The risk management of such novel technologies is very important.

This is a much needed technology and will be a predecessor of the more evolved ones to come in the near future.

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Christina Kitova

I spent most of my professional life in finance, insurance risk management litigation.

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