Scientists at the Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) have succeeded in imitating an essential function of the brain. That’s according to the university.
The brain consists of nerve cells that communicate with each other. This is done via synapses. These are the points at which nerve endings touch each other. A narrow gap between these connection points allows one cell to transmits a signal to the other.
The more that happens, the stronger the connection between the cells becomes. And the less energy it takes to send a signal from one cell to another. That’s how the brain learns things. A researcher at the university has succeeded in not only reproducing such a cell. He managed to communicate with real cells too.
Like a real brain
Researcher, Yoeri van de Burgt, and his research team made the scientific breakthrough. “Our system appears to be able to learn and remember. Just like a real brain. Most research groups that work on measuring brain activity and brain-machine interfaces are only able to measure electrical signals.”
“But those signals are only a derivative of the synapse processes. We can mimic that process. We, just like the brain itself, use electrochemical signals. That means our approach is not only more efficient but also more relevant”, Van de Burgt says.
The next step for Van de Burgt is to apply his system to real problems in the medical field. For example, to develop better prostheses that can communicate with the body and the brain. This technology could be used to repair malfunctioning parts of the brain too.
Editor: Melinda Walraven