Living brain cells in a dish can learn to play the video game Pong when they are placed in what researchers describe as a “virtual game world”. “We think it’s fair to call them cyborg brains,” says Brett Kagan, chief scientific officer of Cortical Labs, who leads the research.
Many teams around the world have been studying networks of neurons in dishes, often growing them into brain-like organoids. But this is the first time that mini-brains have been found to perform goal-directed tasks, says Kagan.
Scientists have successfully taught a collection of human brain cells in a petri dish how to play the video game “Pong” — kind of.
Researchers at the biotechnology startup Cortical Labs have created “mini-brains“ consisting of 800,000 to one million living human brain cells in a petri dish, New Scientist reports. The cells are placed on top of a microelectrode array that analyzes the neural activity.
“We think it’s fair to call them cyborg brains,” Brett Kagan, chief scientific officer at Cortical Labs and research lead of the project, told New Scientist.
Australian scientists at Cortical Labs taught hundreds of thousands of brain cells to play pong in just five minutes, which is quicker than artificial intelligence (AI), which picks up the game 90 minutes later.
As specified in a Mail Online report, the cells were grown in a petri dish “have found a new meaning in life.” Specifically, they are spending the day playing the Pong videogame.
Called “DishBrains,” the system comprises brain cells grown on top of microelectrode arrays that can both stimulate the cells.
For the mini-brains to learn the Pong game, the researchers used the game’s single-player version and delivered electrical signals to either the left or right of the array to specify where the ball is.
h/t Digital mix guy