Science & Tech

Scientists create first 'brain' computer using water and salt

Scientists create first 'brain' computer using water and salt

A fascinating new study has detailed how scientists recreated a “brain” computer using salt and water.

The brain is the most complex organ in the human body, with experts recently discovering that it is even more powerful than first thought.

Now, physicists from Utrecht University in the Netherlands have come together with fellow experts from Sogang University in South Korea to successfully create an artificial synapse.

While attempting to improve the way brain-like computers work, experts have looked to the human brain to help with the development. They reasoned that, if the human brains use water and dissolved salt particles, it could be possible that brain-like computers might be able to, rather than the conventional solid material

The results were published in the journalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and revealed that for the first time, they were able to create a tiny system measuring 150 by 200 micrometres that relied on salt and water to process information.

What they created mimicked a synapse – a key component of the human brain that is responsible for transmitting nervous signals.

PhD candidate at the Institute for Theoretical Physics and the Mathematical Institute of Utrecht University, and the lead author of the study, Tim Kamsma, said: “While artificial synapses capable of processing complex information already exist based on solid materials, we now show for the first time that this feat can also be accomplished using water and salt.”

He explained: “We are effectively replicating neuronal behaviour using a system that employs the same medium as the brain.’

The tiny device that replicated a synapse capable of using salt and water was developed by experts in Korea and helped Kamsma to prove his theory within just three months.

“Coincidently, our paths crossed with the research group in South Korea during that period,” Kamsma recalled. “They embraced my theory with great enthusiasm and swiftly initiated experimental work based on it.”

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