Scientists control Venus Flytrap with an implanted computer brain

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It’s “Little Shop of Horrors” meets “Terminator.”

A team of scientists has managed to take control of a Venus Flytrap, a type of cultivated carnivorous plant, by implanting a tiny microchip into it.

This “artificial neutron” was able to force the plants to open and close – a conventional way for them to devour their prey – mimicking the brain’s methods of processing and information transfer.

“The human brain is one of the most advanced computers ever created,” said Simone Fabiano, associate professor at Linköping University in Sweden and lead author of a new study published in the journal. NatureRecount Cosmos.

“It has a huge amount of memory and is excellent at processing information and making decisions while consuming very little power,” he explained. “On the contrary, artificial supercomputers are large and consume a lot of energy.”

Mimic biology

The team’s artificial neurons mimic biological neurons by increasing the concentration of ions in an organic electrochemical transistor.

According to them, this approach has a number of advantages, including substantial energy savings compared to conventional silicon-based circuits.

The researchers’ neurons fired electrical currents inside the cells of Venus Flytraps to trigger the plants’ natural reflexes and force them to close.

Outside of carnivorous plants, such technology could also have a slew of other uses, from implantable medical devices to smart soft robotics.

“Neurons, along with synapses, are the building blocks of our brain,” Fabiano said. Cosmos. “Being able to mimic the functioning of biological neurons with electronic devices could enable the development of artificial intelligence technologies. »

It’s a small step in the direction of fully simulating “our brain’s efficiency,” she explained, “but I think we’re well on our way to demonstrating printed artificial neural networks. on a small scale”.

READ MORE: The Venus flytraps do the neuron dance [Cosmos]

Learn more about artificial neurons: Researchers teach human brain cells in a dish to play ‘Pong’

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About Mariel Baker

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