Miniature brains can play games

DishBrain can play Pong after about 20 minutes of training. Image: DishBrain.

“DishBrain” is a new experiment by scientists at Cortical Labs, an Australian neuroscience company. This is actually a network of neurons that are grown on a computer chip and are able to interact with the outside world through that chip.

DishBrain is now the size of a little fingernail and has at least over 100 million neurons. The human brain has about 100 billion neurons.

To show what this technology can do, Brett Kagan, chief science officer of Cortical Labs, and colleagues taught DishBrain to play Pong. Created in 1972, Pong was one of the first video games. This game consists of 2 “boards” at the 2 ends of the screen, the player controls these two boards to hit a ball back and forth.

DishBrain has a “sense” area, which receives signals from the world, and a “motor” area, which controls the output response.In the sensory area, eight electrodes transmit electricity to nerve cells to inform the location of the taste. position of the board and the ball The motor area receives signals from the cell to control the movement of the board on the game screen.

This version of Pong has only one board, and only requires controlling the board to hit the ball back and forth with a wall.

DishBrain will be electrocuted to the sensory area if it misses the ball. So gradually the neurons cancel out all the board movements that lead to the miss, and leave only the hitting movements.

Neurons take about 20 minutes to learn how to play Pong. Cortical Labs has tried creating different DishBrains from human and mouse neurons. DishBrains created from human cells usually learn to play faster.

Kagan hopes that the benefits of DishBrain will extend beyond Pong, either by helping researchers better understand the learning and information processing mechanisms of neurons, or by helping create computational processes that take biological inspiration.

According to Zing

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