miniature brains, Makesense, Gianmaria Vernetti

Miniature brains, you make me neural

A new promising frontier of almost everything

Articles by Gianmaria Vernetti October 14, 2015

Miniature brains could be the next big thing in everything, from medical research to technology and art: are we ready to explore new artificial neural organisms? Having being involved in a couple of huge projects at work I had not the chance to focus on new ideas for Makesense. That’s why in the last weeks I decided not to publish anything new here.

Now I am finally back and ready to find brand new ideas.

A couple of days ago I read on Futurity a very interesting article about miniature brains. A research paper developed by researchers at Brown University and published on Tissue Engineering journal underline the possibility to create cheap miniature brains from living tissues.

According to the paper, just a small sample of tissue from a rodent can generate thousands of miniature brains about a third of a millimetre in diameter. These spheres begin to form within a day after the seeding of the cultures and they can create complex neural networks in about three weeks.

This is one of the most amazing points: miniature brains do not perform any cogitation but produce electrical signals and form synapses.

“The chief function of the body is to carry the brain around” (Thomas A. Edison)

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SYN [2011] from Consonant on Vimeo.

Even though I am not a researcher I can understand the great benefits of this discovery. First of all, it can reduce the animal use for testing. Secondly, these miniature brains can be very cheap, about $ 0.25 each. Thirdly, they open the doors to a revolutionary approach in almost everything.

What could be the outcomes of the adoption of miniature brains in tech art and interactive installations? And what about using miniature brains for Internet of Things or wearable technology devices?

New inspiring frontiers are on the horizon, don’t you think?

I truly think it makes sense.

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