Scientists at Johns Hopkins University in the United States are developing bio-computers using human brain cells to create the artificial intelligence of the future. Despite the impressive capabilities of artificial intelligence, the human brain is still far more powerful and scientists believe using human brain cells could unlock even more potential.

Creating the Organoide

The scientists have designed what they call an “organoide”, or IO, which contains clusters of living tissue from stem cells. The organoide is nourished by microvascular fluids and its electrical signals are picked up by micro-electrodes. The results are analyzed using AI algorithms to give insights into the functioning of the brain. By combining multiple “brain” clusters, the researchers believe the power could eventually be similar to that of the human brain.

An EEG-inspired Interface

To communicate directly with the organoide, the team has developed a brain-computer interface inspired by EEG (electroencephalogram) headsets. The flexible device envelops the neural matrix and uses an incredible density of tiny electrodes to capture signals from the organoide and see what it is “thinking.” The IO currently only contains 50,000 cells, which is still a remarkable achievement, but it would need over 10 million cells, or 125,000 billion synapses, to surpass current AI capabilities.

<img src=”; alt=”Equivalent of an EEG interface, rather robust, for communicating with the organoid. © Johns Hopkins University.” width=”1024″ height=”427″ /> Equivalent of an EEG interface, rather robust, for communicating with the organoid. © Johns Hopkins University.

Low Energy Consumption

The researchers suggest that the IO would consume less energy compared to current AI systems. With a low energy consumption similar to that of the human brain, which consumes only 20 watts for a power of about 1 exaflops, the IO could facilitate learning and reduce energy consumption. By combining the best of both worlds, the laboratory believes that the IO’s learning capabilities could be greatly improved compared to conventional machines.

Future Potential

While the IO has huge potential, it is still in its early stages of development and researchers predict it will be at least a decade before its revolutionary potential is realized. For now, the impressive advancements in AI continue to dominate discussions, but as the IO technology progresses, it could unlock even more potential for the future.