Remember the movie 50 First Dates? Well, memory loss can be quite a frustrating thing of experience, but here is an artificial brain that is grown on (where else) but an old school petri dish, comprising of around 60 rat neurons. To put it in plain English, it might not amount to much but the artificial brain there is capable to register around a dozen seconds worth of memory, which might just be enough to have it wonder what is it doing outside of a body.
This is the brainchild (pun not intended) of researchers at the University of Pittsburgh, where they took a silicon disk with a layer of proteins on it, culturing some embryonic rat hippocampus cells on top. The passage of time helped the cells grow together, hence creating their own ring-shaped neural network which was capable of transmitting and receiving electrical signals.
An electrical pulse can stimulate the neurons, traveling around the microbrain for up to 12 seconds – which is surprising since the researchers thought it would last for only 0.25 seconds, resulting in some sort of short term memory. Will we be able to see other kinds of advancements in the medical field that might one day help restore memories or lost parts of the brain?
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