Scientists have successfully made artificial brain neurons, and biological brain neurons communicate over the internet.
Researchers from the University of Padova in Italy, extracted rat neurons in their laboratory, while researchers at the University of Zurich and ETH Zurich created artificial neurons on Silicon microchips. Then researchers from the University of Southampton used cutting-edge nanotechnology to create devices that link the two neurons together called synapses, or more accurately memristors.
The scientists from Southhampton University observed biological spikes being sent over the internet from the researchers in Italy. The researchers then distributed those spikes to the memristors and sent them down the line to the artificial neurons in Zurich. The process was a success as it works in reverse as well. If spikes are sent from the artificial neurons through the mesristors, the biological neurons receive them. Proving that artificial and biological neurons can communicate with each bi-directionally 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."
Prodromakis also said, "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."