Does Research Exist on Biological Neural Network Chips?

  • Thread starter EskWIRED
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Main Question or Discussion Point

I have seen articles dealing with the growth of brain cells using stem cells. I have also seen, in the past, research attempting to mimic neural connections (using traditional silicon chips) for use in computing.

I have searched for any mention of research into using actual living brain cells to form such a neural network, and I have found nothing.

I am wondering about using, as the basis for a neural network chip, living, growing brain cells which could form new neural networks, as needed, much in the same way such networks are formed in growing, learning animals.. I am thinking that maybe a new type of chip could be made for novel applications.

Is anybody doing research into the use of animal stem cells for construction of neural networks?
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
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There was a rat neuron colony to pilot F-22 simulator in 2004 ( http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/10/041022104658.htm ), but I haven't seen anything more recent there ... and I generally don't think it is so simple.
The brain has extreme plasticity, but it has obtained the flexibility due to millions of years of evolution - leading to precise structures (like connections with hippocampus) and stochastic rules (e.g. retina itself has about 50 different types of neurons) ... you cannot just plant a random neuron colony and expect that it will self-assemble into something useful.
Much more reasonable (but less ethical) would be taking a developing brain and hardwire it to a new set of inputs/outputs, like to a flight simulator - so it would be the only "life" it knows ... with the proper training/motivation I think a rat brain could be a great pilot ... with similar ethics as drones.
 
  • #3
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Much more reasonable (but less ethical) would be taking a developing brain and hardwire it to a new set of inputs/outputs, like to a flight simulator - so it would be the only "life" it knows ... with the proper training/motivation I think a rat brain could be a great pilot ... with similar ethics as drones.
Thanks for the link. It was very interesting. I looked and found the original article which had interested me, and indeed, they were growing "mini-brains".
 
  • #4
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Thanks - interesting and scaring. And it is a bit different - just recreating brain development out of the body.
I have found a paper about this piloting F-22: it was "to maintain straight and level flight" by "rat embryonic (day 18) cortical hemispheres": http://neural.bme.ufl.edu/page13/assets/NeuroFlght2.pdf
 

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