An international group of researchers has made a breakthrough, which is the logical conclusion of decades of research and work on the creation of artificial analogs of neurons. The neurons created by these researchers imitate the work of living neurons as accurately as possible, and this development takes us one step closer to the effective treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease, to the development of new types of pacemakers that control the neurons responsible for the work of the heart, etc.
The creation of artificial neurons is a rather multifaceted task, over which scientists have been struggling for decades. Artificial neurons are based on complex mathematical models that describe nonlinear electrical processes that must occur in artificial neurons. But the practical implementation of such non-linear electronic devices with the proper level of miniaturization was until recently an insoluble task, faced with a number of physical and technological limitations.
Researchers managed to create two types of artificial neurons – respiratory and hippocampal neurons. Both of these types are fully consistent with the characteristics of their biological “colleagues.” All this is implemented in the form of miniature silicon chips that can be embedded in electronic devices, which, thanks to this, will be able to control the activity of other neurons or will be able to “communicate” with certain areas of the brain. With the help of such chips it will be possible to create artificial neural connections that bypass natural connections that are affected by neurodegenerative diseases or physically damaged as a result of a person’s injury.
In addition to the obvious applications in medicine, such artificial neurons can be used to create brain-computer interfaces, such as those developed by Neuralink, one of Elon Musk’s companies. However, until the time when this technology can only approach the stage of clinical trials in humans, whole years will pass, during which the technology of artificial neurons will go through a series of various tests and trials.
And even if this specific work never reaches the stage of practical implementation, and such a probability exists, it can serve as a platform for other studies, which, in turn, can already be brought to their logical conclusion.