Root NationNewsCortical Labs: neuron-based computers are just around the corner

Cortical Labs: neuron-based computers are just around the corner


With every year science fiction gets closer and closer to the actual reality This is due to the fact that scientists are beginning to implement many ideas that were previously the fiction. For example, in December 2021, Melbourne-based Cortical Labs grew groups of neurons (brain cells) that were embedded in a computer chip.


In silicon computers, electrical signals are transmitted by metal contacts that connect different components together. In the brain, neurons communicate with each other through electrical signals through synapses (connections between nerve cells).

neural computer

In the Dishbrain system from Cortical Labs, neurons are grown on silicon chips. These neurons act as wires in the system, connecting different components. The main advantage of this approach is that neurons can change shape, grow, reproduce or die in response to system requirements. Dishbrain can learn to play the arcade game Pong faster than conventional artificial intelligence systems. The developers of Dishbrain said: “Nothing like this has existed before… This is a completely new way of life. Fusion of silicon and neurons.

Cortical Labs believes that its hybrid chips can be the key to complex thought processes that modern computers and AI cannot handle.


Another startup that makes computers from lab-grown neurons, Koniku, believes its technology will revolutionize several industries, including agriculture, healthcare, military technology and airport security.

Other types of organic computers are also in the early stages of development. Although silicon computers have changed society, they are still inferior to the brains of most animals. For example, a cat’s brain contains 1,000 times more data than the average iPad, and can use that information a million times faster. The human brain with its trillions of neural connections is capable of performing 15 quintillion operations per second. Today, only powerful supercomputers that use a huge amount of energy can match this. The human brain consumes only about 20 watts of energy, or about as much as needed to power a light bulb. It would take 34 coal-fired power plants producing 500 megawatts per hour to store the same amount of data as human brain in modern data centers.


Companies do not need donor brain tissue samples, they can simply grow the right neurons in the laboratory from normal skin cells using stem cell technology. Scientists can transform cells from blood samples or skin biopsies into stem cell types, which can then become cells of any type in the human body.


The Cortical Lab Dishbrain study found that human neurons learn faster than mouse neurons. Can there be differences in performance depending on whose neurons are used? Will Apple and Google be able to create lightning-fast computers using neurons from the best and smartest people of today? Can anyone get the tissues of dead geniuses, such as Albert Einstein, to create specialized neurocomputers released in limited editions? It is still more of a “whether they can”, rather than how it can be applied, but current developments are very promising.

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