Saturday, September 4, 2010


The wikipedia definition of a neuro-chip is that "It is made of silicon that is doped in such a way that it contains EOSFETs (electrolyte-oxide-semiconductor FET) that can sense the electrical activity of the neurons (action potentials) in the above-standing physiological electrolyte solution. It also contains capacitors for the electrical stimulation of these cells."

So the neuro-chip can be called as the culmination of a process trying to blurr the line between living organisms and machines . Researchers have  now developed "neuro-chips" in which living brain cells and silicon circuits are coupled together.

It is understood to be a breakthrough in treating neurological disorders, or a basis for developing  organic computers using living neurons or even a basis for Brain implant in future.

To create the neuro-chip, researchers squeezed more than 16,000 electronic transistors and hundreds of capacitors onto a silicon chip just 1 millimeter square in size.They used special proteins found in the brain to glue brain cells, called neurons, onto the chip. However, the proteins acted as more than just a simple adhesive."They also provided the link between ionic channels of the neurons and semiconductor material in a way that neural electrical signals could be passed to the silicon chip.

Snail neurons form a network on a silicon chip.The proteins allowed the neuro-chip's electronic components and its living cells to communicate with each other. Electrical signals from neurons were recorded using the chip's transistors, while the chip's capacitors were used to stimulate the neurons.

It could still be decades before the technology is advanced enough to treat neurological disorders or create living computers, the researchers say, but in the nearer term, the chips could provide an advanced method of screening drugs for the pharmaceutical industry.