- March 6, 2023
- Posted by: OptimizeIAS Team
- Category: DPN Topics
Subject : Science and technology
Section: Awareness in Computers
- Researchers at Johns Hopkins University (JHU) have come up with a plan for a new area of research named “organoid intelligence”, which aims to create “bio-computers”.
- Researchers are developing 3D cultures of brain tissue in the lab which are called brain organoids or mini brains.
- Mini-brains, which are up to 4 mm in size, are developed using human stem cells and thus they have the ability to capture various functional and structural features of a human brain.
- Such brain cultures that are created or developed are then coupled to the real-world through various sensors and input/output devices.
- Researchers at the JHU have developed a technique wherein brain organoids are integrated with modern computing technologies to create “bio-computers”.
- Plans are in place to also integrate rain organoids or mini brains with machine learning (ML) techniques by developing such organoids inside flexible structures affixed with multiple electrodes (similar to the ones used to record EEG readings).
- Such a mechanism will help record the firing patterns of various neurons and deliver electrical stimuli to mimic sensory stimuli.
- The following response pattern of the neurons and their effect on human behaviour will be analysed by ML techniques.
- Furthermore, developing brain organoids or mini brains using the stem cells of patients with neurodegenerative or cognitive disorders and analysing the data on brain structure, can provide key insights.
Functioning of Bio-computers
- Recently, researchers transplanted human brain organoids into rat brains where they were found to have formed connections with the rat brain which would provide the much needed blood circulation.
- These organoids were transplanted into the visual system and when flash light was shown to the rats as part of the experiment, the human neurons were found to be activated.
- This shows that the human brain organoids were functioning actively.
- Scientists believe that the advancement of this system will help significantly understand the biological basis of human cognition, learning, and various neurological disorders.
- Organoids are lab-grown tissues that resemble organs.
- They are three-dimensional structures usually derived from stem cells.
- They are smaller, simpler versions of an organ and can mimic the architecture and function of specific organs in the body.
- They can be crafted to replicate much of the complexity of an organ or to express selected aspects of it, like producing only certain types of cells.
- Organoids can range in size from less than the width of a hair to five millimeters.
- It refers to the ability of organoids to exhibit certain behaviors or responses that are indicative of intelligence, such as problem-solving, learning, or adapting to changing environments.
- It is an emerging field where researchers are developing biological computing using 3D cultures of human brain cells (brain organoids) and brain-machine interface technologies.
- These organoids share aspects of brain structure and function that play a key role in cognitive functions like learning and memory.
- They would essentially serve as biological hardware and could one day be even more efficient than current computers running AI programs.
- OI requires scaling up current brain organoids into complex, durable 3D structures enriched with cells and genes associated with learning and connecting these to next-generation input and output devices and AI/machine learning systems.
- OI requires new models, algorithms, and interface technologies to communicate with brain organoids, understand how they learn and compute, and process and store the massive amounts of data they will generate.