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Scientists have successfully connected brain and artificial neurons through the web

Scientists have successfully connected brain and artificial neurons through the web

Scientists have for the first time, successfully connected neurons in the brain with artificial ones through the internet. 

Scientists have successfully connected brain and artificial neurons through the web

The study, published in Nature Scientific Reports sought to allow the brain’s neurons to communicate with each other through an online network.

Using cutting-edge nanotechnology, the scientists in Italy connected rat neurons with artificial neurons in Zurich, linking them together through a network known as memristors. 

Scientists monitored the network and captured neurological activity on both ends, allowing the artificial and biological neurons to communicate in real time.

Themis Prodromakis, Professor of Nanotechnology and Director of the Centre for Electronics Frontiers at the University of Southampton, explained the significance of these new technological advancements.

“One of the biggest challenges in conducting research of this kind and at this level has been integrating such distinct cutting edge technologies and specialist expertise that are not typically found under one roof,” says Prodromakis. “By creating a virtual lab we have been able to achieve this.”

The scientists hope this breakthrough research will help advance the development of neural interfaces research.

“We are very excited with this new development. On one side it sets the basis for a novel scenario that was never encountered during natural evolution, where biological and artificial neurons are linked together and communicate across global networks; laying the foundations for the Internet of Neuro-electronics. On the other hand, it brings new prospects to neuroprosthetic technologies, paving the way towards research into replacing dysfunctional parts of the brain with AI chips,” says Prodromakis.

Technology like this has the potential to tap into the brain and cure all manner of physical ailment and psychological illnesses, but should we really be messing with matters of the mind? In our new issue of MiNDFOOD, we explore the consequences of hacking into the brain.

Read the April 2020 MiNDFOOD to find out more.

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