It uses neurons to process data – Enseñame de Ciencia

It uses neurons to process data – Enseñame de Ciencia

Biological sciences and computer science are growing by leaps and bounds and it was expected that these two areas of knowledge would be closely related and cooperate to create great projects.

Like something out of a science fiction story, scientists have managed to pull off a remarkable feat, using for the first time living neurons to power a minicomputer.

Scientists From the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in the United States, they extracted 80,000 neurons from the brain of a mouse and built a living computer with them.

According to the researchers, the mouse weighs an average of only 40 grams and has about 71 million neurons, stored in a small brain of only 0.4 grams, which is able to master complex thinking and not only that, because it allows these rodents to represent information. at the level of neurons.


Although it is a very simple computer, due to the few activities it can perform: such as detecting light and electricity, it is necessary to point out that the analysis and processing of information is not done by a chip. But through the group of neurons of the mouse brain.

one pc

the researchers I managed to make a computer whose design is not at all traditional, that is, it is completely out of the ordinary because it is very small in size, similar to the measurements of a box that fits in one hand and works thanks to an incubator that keeps neurons alive and working, as if it were just another piece of computer hardware.

After conducting many experiments, the scientists were able to confirm that living neurons could correctly recognize the patterns of electricity and light that were generated inside this box. Simulating being in their natural environment, they processed the information as if they were inside a live mouse.

The presented stimuli led to a neural response that was additionally recorded by a computer chip, and here the expected miracle occurred, as the neuron computer was able to operationally integrate into a mechanical processor, the chip, and this did not stop there, because the scientists recorded that the processing took place in record time. , which is not comparable to ordinary computing.

This type of research project and field of research is known as neural computing, which is still in its basic development stage and proposes building and operating computing structures similar to those in the biological brain.

Image of the first computer with living neurons, loans to Ellins University

neural communication

the nervous cells They communicate through a complex network of synaptic connections. Synapses are the connections between nerve cells and can be chemical or electrical. Most synapses are chemical and they work by releasing chemicals called neurotransmitters.

When a neuron fires, it releases neurotransmitters into the synapse. These neurotransmitters bind to specific receptors on the postsynaptic cell membrane, causing a change in the membrane potential and ultimately activation of the postsynaptic cell. This process is known as chemical neurotransmission.

In electrical synapses, cells are connected by intercellular junctions called gap junctions. These connections allow the direct flow of charged ions between cells, allowing the electrical signal to propagate rapidly between neurons.

The original article was published in the journal new worldas “80,000 mouse brain cells used to build a living computer”.

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