In China, these robots are controlled by brain cells!

In China, these robots are controlled by brain cells!
In China, these robots are controlled by brain cells!

Have you ever heard of the “ wetware ” ? This concept is gaining ground in some areas of research. It is a reference to the biological, the word being modeled on the words software (software) and hardware (material). While its definition has evolved, today it mainly refers to biological components used in combination with technology. Such as brain organoids, which are clusters of brain cells, most often taken from stem cellsstem cells human.

Among the various projects currently underway are Johns Hopkins University’s organoid intelligence, Indiana University Bloomington’s Brainoware computer, and FinalSpark’s neuroplatform. However, Chinese researchers from Tianjin University and the Southern University of Science and Technology (SUSTech) want to go even further, using brain organoids to pilot robots.

Three-dimensional, ultrasound-cultured organoids

The project, called MetaBOC, is a software that serves as an interface between biocomputers equipped with “brains on a chip” – in other words, containing brain organoids – and other electronic devices. The organoids must be able to perceive the world using electronic signals sent by sensorssensorsand learn how to perform tasks. MetaBOC also integrates theartificial intelligenceartificial intelligence to communicate with the biological intelligence of organoids.

Just like with artificial intelligence, it is possible to train it to pilot a robot in simulations in order to limit the damage at first. The researchers opted for ball-shaped organoids — the 3D structure allowing for more complex neural connections — and cultured by stimulationstimulation has ultrasoundultrasound low-intensity focused. So far, the MetaBOC system, used to control a robot, has managed to avoid obstacles and catch objects.

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