By Bennett Davis
For the first time, scientists have enabled brain cells and their digital counterparts to communicate over the Internet. The success brings one of science fiction’s favorite fantasies closer to reality – that human brains and computers can not only merge, but also can link over long distances.
At Italy’s University of Padova, scientists cultivated rats’ brain cells in lab dishes.
At the technical institutes University of Zurich and Zurich ETH, engineers built artificial brain cells on computer chips.
The living and non-living cells transferred signals to each other over the Internet using a communications network developed at the University of Southampton.
Signals generated by one group of cells was distributed to the other through a network of electronic “synapses,” mimicking the links between brain cells that allowed the receiving cells to remember the signals.
TRENDPOST: The breakthrough lays a foundation for an “Internet of Neuro-Electronics” and shows a practical basis for imagining the ability to replace defective brain circuits with chips embedded with artificial intelligence.

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