The Living Computer

By on October 22, 2004

University of Florida scientist, Thomas DeMarse, has grown a “computer” in a petri dish from living cells taken from a rat’s brain, and has successfully interfaced the brain with a computer. The brain has learned to fly a flight simulator on the computer.

“We’re interested in studying how brains compute,” said Thomas DeMarse, the UF professor of biomedical engineering who designed the study. “If you think about your brain, and learning and the memory process, I can ask you questions about when you were 5 years old and you can retrieve information. That’s a tremendous capacity for memory. In fact, you perform fairly simple tasks that you would think a computer would easily be able to accomplish, but in fact it can’t. 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.

I can see it now; advertisements in the year 2020 for computers at Best Buy sporting the new Pentium 19 processor. “Buy yours today and get a year’s worth of rat chow and cedar bedding free!”

via BoingBoing.



  1. I dunno, Joe. The dead badger thing says any old dead badger would do. But for this I think you’d need to start with one that is still alive or maybe just a little dead. One that’s mostly dead might do in a pinch, but it’d be a stretch.

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