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Sci Rep. 2015 Jul 9;5:11869. doi: 10.1038/srep11869.

Building an organic computing device with multiple interconnected brains.

Author information

1
Department of Neurobiology, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina 27710.
2
1] Department of Neurobiology, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina 27710 [2] Duke Center for Neuroengineering, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina 27710.
3
Department of Biomedical Engineering, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina 27710.
4
1] Department of Neurobiology, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina 27710 [2] Department of Biomedical Engineering, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina 27710 [3] Department of Psychology and Neuroscience, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina 27710 [4] Duke Center for Neuroengineering, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina 27710 [5] Edmond and Lily Safra International Institute for Neuroscience of Natal, Natal, Brazil.

Abstract

Recently, we proposed that Brainets, i.e. networks formed by multiple animal brains, cooperating and exchanging information in real time through direct brain-to-brain interfaces, could provide the core of a new type of computing device: an organic computer. Here, we describe the first experimental demonstration of such a Brainet, built by interconnecting four adult rat brains. Brainets worked by concurrently recording the extracellular electrical activity generated by populations of cortical neurons distributed across multiple rats chronically implanted with multi-electrode arrays. Cortical neuronal activity was recorded and analyzed in real time, and then delivered to the somatosensory cortices of other animals that participated in the Brainet using intracortical microstimulation (ICMS). Using this approach, different Brainet architectures solved a number of useful computational problems, such as discrete classification, image processing, storage and retrieval of tactile information, and even weather forecasting. Brainets consistently performed at the same or higher levels than single rats in these tasks. Based on these findings, we propose that Brainets could be used to investigate animal social behaviors as well as a test bed for exploring the properties and potential applications of organic computers.

PMID:
26158615
PMCID:
PMC4497302
DOI:
10.1038/srep11869
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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