What are ‘bio-computers’ and how do they function?

Source: The post is based on the article What are ‘bio-computers’ and how do they function? published in The Hindu on 6th March 2023.

What is the News?

Scientists at Johns Hopkins University have recently outlined a plan for a revolutionary new area of research called “organoid intelligence”, which aims to create “bio computers”.

What are Organoids?

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What is Organoids Intelligence?

Organoid intelligence 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. 

For example, researchers have created brain organoids that can form neural networks and exhibit electrical activity similar to that of a developing brain. 

These organoids can be used to study neurological disorders and test potential therapies.

What are Bio-computers?

Biological computers use biologically derived molecules — such as DNA and/or proteins — to perform digital or real computations.

These computers can perform certain operations much faster than traditional electronic computers and have the potential to revolutionize fields such as medicine and biotechnology.

How are researchers planning to develop bio-computers?

Researchers have announced plans to combine brain organoids with modern computing methods to create “bio-computers”.

They have planned to couple the organoids with machine learning by growing the organoids inside flexible structures affixed with multiple electrodes (similar to the ones used to take EEG readings from the brain). 

These structures will be able to record the firing patterns of the neurons and also deliver electrical stimuli, to mimic sensory stimuli.

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