World first as artificial neurons developed to cure chronic diseases
Scientists have invented artificial neurons on low-power chips that behave just like real ones. They can be used to create medical devices for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative diseases..
For a long time, researchers have tried to create synthetic neurons that could interact with the nervous system and provide feedback, just like natural ones. However, the development was complicated by the biological features of their behavior and the nonlinear response of cells to electrical stimuli..
To solve this problem, a team of engineers from the University of Bath built an accurate model and obtained equations describing their behavior. Then they have developed silicon microprocessors that mimic biological ion channels and respond in exactly the same way to various stimuli.
The presented artificial neurons consume only 140 nW of energy, which makes them a suitable option for creating bioelectronic implants that can function as damaged or dead neurons., correctly responding to natural demands in real time.
In tests, the team was able to accurately reproduce the full dynamics of rat hippocampal and respiratory neurons over a wide range of stimuli.. Researchers are currently developing smart pacemakers that will not only stimulate the heartbeat, but respond to changes in the body’s demands on the heart, as it does in a healthy organ..
Another variant of the intelligent pacemaker was recently developed by scientists from the Universities of Bristol and Bath, but in their bionic design natural rhythm is set by an analog chip based on a neural network.
text: Ilya Bauer, photo and video: University of Bath