via University of Southampton
Research on novel nanoelectronics devices led by the University of Southampton has enabled brain neurons and artificial neurons to communicate with each other. This study has for the first time shown how three key emerging technologies can work together: brain-computer interfaces, artificial neural networks and advanced memory technologies (also known as memristors). The discovery opens the door to further significant developments in neural and artificial intelligence research.
Brain functions are made possible by circuits of spiking neurons, connected together by microscopic, but highly complex links called ‘synapses’. In this new study, published in the scientific journal Nature Scientific Reports, the scientists created a hybrid neural network where biological and artificial neurons in different parts of the world were able to communicate with each other over the internet through a hub of artificial synapses made using cutting-edge nanotechnology. This is the first time the three components have come together in a unified network.
During the study, researchers based at the University of Padova in Italy cultivated rat neurons in their laboratory, whilst partners from the University of Zurich and ETH Zurich created artificial neurons on Silicon microchips. The virtual laboratory was brought together via an elaborate setup controlling nanoelectronic synapses developed at the University of Southampton. These synaptic devices are known as memristors.
The Southampton based researchers captured spiking events being sent over the internet from the biological neurons in Italy and then distributed them to the memristive synapses. Responses were then sent onward to the artificial neurons in Zurich also in the form of spiking activity. The process simultaneously works in reverse too; from Zurich to Padova. Thus, artificial and biological neurons were able to communicate bidirectionally and in real time.
Themis Prodromakis, Professor of Nanotechnology and Director of the Centre for Electronics Frontiers at the University of Southampton said “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. By creating a virtual lab we have been able to achieve this.”
The researchers now anticipate that their approach will ignite interest from a range of scientific disciplines and accelerate the pace of innovation and scientific advancement in the field of neural interfaces research. In particular, the ability to seamlessly connect disparate technologies across the globe is a step towards the democratisation of these technologies, removing a significant barrier to collaboration.
Professor Prodromakis added “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.”
The Latest Updates from Bing News & Google News
Go deeper with Bing News on:
- Technology Insight: Future Neuroprosthetic Therapies for Disorders of the Nervous Systemon November 28, 2020 at 4:00 pm
The neuroprosthetic approach to restoring these lost functions is based on arrays of microelectrodes implanted into neural tissues, which can 'talk' and 'listen' to large numbers of small groups ...
- Brain-Computer Interfaces: Separating Fact From Fiction On Musk’s Brain Implant Claimson November 21, 2020 at 4:00 pm
Much of BCI and neuroprosthetics technology revolves around recording ... are without a doubt the most successful example of a neuroprosthetic device. Hundreds of thousands have been implanted ...
- Beyond COVID-19: New technologies, treatments could help recovered survivors now facing neurological aftereffectson November 21, 2020 at 6:05 am
“Purdue is a renowned global research institution, and the treatment of neurological issues is a top priority. The available technologies we have in this field show great promise in treating brain ...
- Algorithm lets thoughts control the cursoron November 19, 2020 at 3:59 pm
These innovations should lead to a significant boost in the control of neuroprosthetic devices and increase the clinical viability of this technology,” says Jose Carmena, an associate professor ...
- To Benefit Paralyzed Veterans, Polymer Coating Aims To Extend Life of Microelectrodeson November 19, 2020 at 7:35 am
With the support of a four-year $1.2 million grant from The Department of Veterans Affairs, an interdisciplinary team of engineers from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute aims to create a polymer ...
Go deeper with Google Headlines on:
Go deeper with Bing News on:
Internet of Neuro-electronics
- Global Defence Outlook Report 2020: Continuing High Global Tensions will Call for a Spike in Military Spendingon November 3, 2020 at 4:13 am
A total of 27 such areas are covered ranging from cloud computing and neuro-electronics to swarm robotics. Regional outlooks are also provided, detailing opportunities and on-going procurements.
- Brain neurons & artificial neurons can talk in real-time over the webon February 27, 2020 at 1:21 am
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 ...