Friday 31 May 2024

Unveiling the ‘Living Computer’: Pioneering the Future of Computing with Human Brain cells
In an audacious leap reminiscent of science fiction turning into reality, the Switzerland-based startup FinalSpark has created what they dub a “living computer”. This intriguing invention consists of 16 mini brains, each fashioned from human brain tissue, assembled to function as a computer processor. This innovation marks a bold foray into what could be the next frontier in computing technology.

The Genesis of the Living Computer
The process begins with brain organoids—tiny, simplified versions of the brain produced from neural stem cells. These organoids are meticulously nurtured in a specially designed environment that supports their survival and growth. The key to transforming these biological entities into computing components lies in connecting them to advanced electrodes. These electrodes not only sustain the mini brains but also enable the conversion of neural activity into digital information that can be used for computational processes.

The Drive towards Sustainable Computing
One of the most compelling advantages of this biocomputer, dubbed the Neuroplatform, is its energy efficiency. Ewelina Kurtys, a scientist and strategic advisor at FinalSpark, notes that neurons can process information using significantly less energy—over a million times less—than traditional digital processors. This stark difference underscores the potential of biological computing to revolutionize our approach to data processing and artificial intelligence (AI).

Advancing AI and Reducing Carbon Footprints
The potential applications of the Neuroplatform extend beyond mere energy savings. This system offers a promising avenue for enhancing AI technologies, particularly in improving the generalization capabilities of AI models. Moreover, by leveraging living neurons for computations, this technology could drastically reduce the environmental impact of traditional computing, notably in terms of greenhouse gas emissions.

A Collaborative Future
FinalSpark is not keeping this groundbreaking technology to itself. The startup has made the Neuroplatform accessible to researchers worldwide, allowing them to remotely conduct various studies, including those focused on AI. This collaborative approach not only accelerates the advancement of biocomputer research but also positions the Neuroplatform as a critical tool in the evolution of AI computing.

As the digital age presses on, the demands on resources continue to escalate, accompanied by increasing concerns over carbon emissions and environmental sustainability. In this context, FinalSpark’s living computer emerges not just as a technological marvel but as a beacon of sustainable innovation. This fusion of biology and technology could well redefine the landscape of computing, making it more efficient, powerful, and environmentally friendly.

Kurtys, E. (2024). FinalSpark Company Blog. [online] Available at: [FinalSpark Blog]
Tom’s Hardware. (2024). “Scientists Connect 16 Mini Brains Made of Human Tissue to Create a ‘Living Computer’.” [online] Available at: [Tom’s Hardware Article]
Nature. (2023). “Applications and implications of biological computing.” [online] Available at: [Nature Article]

This venture into the utilisation of human tissue for computational purposes not only opens new avenues in technological advancements but also poses ethical and philosophical questions that we as a society must address. As we stand on the brink of potentially revolutionary changes, the dialogue between innovation and ethics becomes ever more crucial.

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