An artificial neuron that can release and receive dopamine in communication with real rat cells could be incorporated into future human-machine interfaces. Researchers in China and Singapore formed the device from a graphene and carbon nanotube electrode that can detect the release of dopamine, while a memristor dispatches more dopamine via a heat-activated hydrogel. This process mimics how brain cells change the amount of neurotransmitter sent between connections in response to external stimuli.
The artificial neuron also can trigger a mouse muscle through the sciatic nerve and move a robotic hand. "This actually has quite a lot of potential for expanding into more sophisticated learning systems," said Yoeri van de Burgt at the Netherlands' Eindhoven University of Technology.
From New Scientist
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