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UF SCIENTIST: “BRAIN” IN A DISH ACTS AS AUTOPILOT, LIVING COMPUTER



OK, this is just unbelievable. And spooky.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. --- A University of Florida scientist has grown a living “brain” that can fly a simulated plane, giving scientists a novel way to observe how brain cells function as a network.



The “brain” -- a collection of 25,000 living neurons, or nerve cells, taken from a rat’s brain and cultured inside a glass dish -- gives scientists a unique real-time window into the brain at the cellular level. By watching the brain cells interact, scientists hope to understand what causes neural disorders such as epilepsy and to determine noninvasive ways to intervene.



“If we can extract the rules of how these neural networks are doing computations like pattern recognition, we can apply that to create novel computing systems,” he said.



DeMarse experimental "brain" interacts with an F-22 fighter jet flight simulator through a specially designed plate called a multi-electrode array and a common desktop computer.



“It’s essentially a dish with 60 electrodes arranged in a grid at the bottom,” DeMarse said. “Over that we put the living cortical neurons from rats, which rapidly begin to reconnect themselves, forming a living neural network – a brain.”



“There’s a lot of data out there that will tell you that the computation that’s going on here isn’t based on just one neuron. The computational property is actually an emergent property of hundreds or thousands of neurons cooperating to produce the amazing processing power of the brain.”



As living computers, they may someday be used to fly small unmanned airplanes or handle tasks that are dangerous for humans, such as search-and-rescue missions or bomb damage assessments.


We've got brains in dishes flying planes but can't figure out how to discount the future cash flow of hundreds of millions of scanned beam display products sold throughout the world in 2007.



Humans -- incredibly smart and incredibly dumb at the same time.

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