Brain Cells, Playing Vintage Ping Pong… What?

HBI Blog / Brain Cells, Playing Vintage Ping Pong… What?
Brain Cells

As ridiculous as the title may sound, it has actually happened. This was made possible in in-vitro conditions by a group of researchers. It is the first instance where goal-directed tasks can be taught to a group of lab-grown brain cells. The setup consists of a collection of 800,000 mice brain cells “DishBrain”.

How was DishBrain taught to Brain Cells?

The location of the ball and paddles during a game of Ping Pong was demonstrated to the brain cells utilizing electrodes. 

DishBrain was then taught how to hit the ball back and forth by feedback from the electrodes, which caused the cells to behave as though they were the paddle.

One array’s left- or right-side electrodes would light up to show which side of the screen the ball had landed on, and the frequency of the signals showed how far away from the paddle it had been.

Endless possibility with DishBrain

After this amusing experiment, researchers are rather eager to see how medicines and alcohol affect DishBrain’s ping pong skills. This help researchers experiment with the real brain function in labs.

In the past, models of the brain were created based on how computer scientists believed the brain may function in light of the information technology we already understand, such as silicon computing. 

However, DishBrain outperformed silicon-based systems, self-organizing its capabilities by utilizing the provided information to make its reality more predictable.

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