June 07, 2007

Towards cyborgs : brains in robot bodies

From the Register, Israeli boffins may be on the road to building artificial, living human brains which can function without a body to support them. Honest.

Ben-Jacob and his fellow boffins apparently mounted their artificially-cultured brain tissue on "a polymer panel studded with electrodes." (Won't be long before they start using full-size brains in jars of bubbling transparent fluid, we reckon.) The scientists then injected the hapless culture with "picrotoxin, a cocktail of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA)."

Apparently, "the cells on the electrode array came from the cortex, the outermost layer of the brain known for its role in memory formation," though it wasn't clear whose cortex or how they got the slime out of the donor's head.

The injection of picrotoxic gamma acid enabled the neurons, essentially, to start behaving persistently in an organised way - or to put it another way, BROUGHT A DEAD BRAIN TO LIFE.


Anonymous said...

Hi! I think that you're pretty knowledgeable about nanotech so I would like to ask for a brief explanation about the specific connection between nanotechnology and ion implantation. And nanotechnology and semiconductors. Thanks! - Michael

bw said...

Ion implantation is well explained at wikipedia

In terms of nanotechnology and ion implantation, it depends upon the definition of nanotechnology that is used. If you are referring to the old national nanotech initiative definition of anything that has a feature size between 1 and 100 nanometers, then ion implantation would be a process that falls under that broad categorization.

It is used as one of the process steps in making semiconductors and the insulating layer. It is not molecularly precise. So there is little relationship between ion implantation and molecular nanotechnology.

Semiconductors : it again depends upon your definition. Semiconductors are a kind of solid.

But semiconductors are most commonly used to refer to the computer processor industry.

Semiconducting computer processors have feature sizes that are in the 1-100nm range. So they are an industry that is part of the NNI definition of nanotechnology.

I am more interested in the transformational effects in technology and society related to molecular nanotechnology, DNA nanotechnology, fullerene/carbon nanotube nanotechnology and other advanced technologies.

I would suggest browsing through wikipedia to get familiar with the terms.

Novice Blogger said...

Alright! It means a lot to hear from someone like you who has expertise on these things. Thanks again!