Image by FinalSpark

Switzerland-based startup FinalSpark claims to have built a unique computer processor made from 16 mini brains made from human brain tissue, Tom's Hardware reports — and they are positioning this "living computer" as an alternative to silicon-based computing.

And now, other researchers can remotely access the startup's biocomputer, the Neuroplatform, to conduct studies on, say, artificial intelligence, which typically requires enormous resources.

"One of the biggest advantages of biological computing is that neurons compute information with much less energy than digital computers," FinalSpark scientist and strategic advisor Ewelina Kurtys wrote in a company blog post earlier this month. "It is estimated that living neurons can use over 1 million times less energy than the current digital processors we use."

The startup takes brain organoids, small samples of human brain tissue derived from neural stem cells, and places them in a special environment that keeps these organoids alive. They then hook up these mini brains to specialized electrodes to perform computer processing and digital analog conversions to transform neural activity into digital information.

The concept of living computers has been around for quite some time now. Last year, for instance, scientists hooked up neurons to electrical circuits, resulting in a device that could perform voice recognition.

These unusual machines have some noteworthy advantages over their silicon-based counterparts, including a significantly smaller carbon footprint.

"This is one of the reasons why using living neurons for computations is such a compelling opportunity," Kurtys said. "Apart from possible improvements in AI model generalization, we could also reduce greenhouse emissions without sacrificing technological progress."

FinalSpark hopes other institutions will tap its Neuroplatform in order to advance biocomputer research, while positioning this tool as the next step in AI computing.

As AI companies clamor for resources for data centers, with concerns growing over carbon emissions and water, it's a novel approach that may just pay off in the long run.

More on brains: Computer Made From Human Brain Cells Can Perform Voice Recognition

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