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Groundbreaking Advancements in Brain-on-Chip Technology in China

Researchers in China have developed a robot with a lab-grown artificial brain using brain-on-chip technology. The scientists combined a brain organoid (tissue from human stem cells) with a neural interface chip, creating a Brain-Computer Interface that allows the robot to navigate and interact with its environment. This breakthrough holds promise for treating neurological disorders and repairing brain damage, as the technology continues to advance and overcome challenges.



In a remarkable feat of scientific innovation, researchers from Tianjin University and the Southern University of Science and Technology in China have made significant strides in the field of brain-on-chip technology. They have successfully developed a robot equipped with a lab-grown artificial brain, opening up exciting possibilities for the future of robotics and neurotechnology.


The researchers' approach involved combining a brain organoid (tissue derived from human stem cells) with a neural interface chip, a technology known as the Brain-Computer Interface (BCI). Through this integration, the robot with the artificial brain can be taught to navigate and interact with its environment, demonstrating impressive capabilities in obstacle avoidance and object manipulation.

 

"This is a technology that uses an in-vitro cultured 'brain' – such as brain organoids – coupled with an electrode chip to form a brain-on-chip, which encodes and decodes stimulation feedback," explained Ming Dong, the vice-president of Tianjin University.

 

The researchers relied on human pluripotent cells to form the brain organoid, which possess the remarkable ability to differentiate into various cell types, including neurons. By grafting these cells into the brain, the researchers were able to establish functional connections between the organoid and the host brain, as described in their published research in the peer-reviewed Oxford University Press journal Brain.

 

Professor Li Xiaohong of Tianjin University acknowledged that the Brain-Computer Interface technology still faces certain challenges, such as "low developmental maturity and insufficient nutrient supply." However, the team's innovative approach using low-intensity ultrasound has shown promise in boosting the integration and growth of the organoids within the brain.

 

"The use of low-intensity ultrasound on the brain organoid can cause differentiation of organoid cells into neurons, thus helping to improve the networks it formed with the host brain," the researchers revealed in their research paper.

 

The potential applications of this groundbreaking technology are vast. The BCI technique could be utilized in the treatment of various neurological disorders, including neurodevelopmental disorders. Furthermore, it holds promise for repairing damage to the cerebral cortex, the outermost layer of the brain responsible for cognitive functions.

 

As the field of brain-on-chip technology continues to evolve, the remarkable achievements of the Chinese researchers serve as a testament to the power of scientific collaboration and the relentless pursuit of innovative solutions. This pioneering work paves the way for a future where robots with artificial brains could revolutionize our understanding of the human mind and enhance our ability to address complex neurological challenges.

 


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