Human neurons power computer chip

The start-up Cortical Labs is building “mini-brains” with processors that are connected to lab-grown nerve cells of humans and mice. These neurons are embedded in a nourishing liquid medium on top of a specialized metal-oxide chip containing a grid of 22,000 tiny electrodes that enable programmers to provide electrical inputs to the neurons and also sense their outputs. The aim is teach these hybrid mini-brains to perform many of the same tasks that software-based artificial intelligence can, but at a fraction of the energy consumption.

 April 6, 2020

Deleting fearful memories from rats

Researchers at Peking University have successfully deleted fearful memories from rats. They did so using the CRISPR method to targetedly delete, change or replace certain gene sequences. The project is still in the development stage but the researchers believe that CRISPR could be used in future to treat post-traumatic stress syndrome, chronic pain and drug addiction. These often occur as a result of traumatic experiences that humans suppress, but could be deleted from memory with this method.

 April 6, 2020

Delivery service for essentials

Deliveroo is providing a free delivery service in the UK involving essential items for people who are self-isolating at home. In partnership with the supermarket chain Marks & Spencer, basics like cereal, pasta and canned goods will be available from the Deliveroo website. Deliveroo will deliver the products for free to people who are in self-isolation and cannot go shopping by themselves. Other delivery services like Uber and Just Eat have introduced similar services.

 April 6, 2020

Graphene-based bandage for remote monitoring

Scientists at the biotech start-up Grapheal have developed a graphene-based bandage designed for the remote monitoring of wounds. The bandage consists of a polymer film base, along with embedded flexible electronics including graphene electrodes that are in direct contact with the wound. If the wound's pH level changes, the conductivity of the graphene electrodes also changes accordingly. This data is wirelessly transmitted from the bandage to a nearby smartphone. Doctors can then view online updates on the condition of the wound, without having to see the patient in person.

 April 6, 2020

Precision farming of insects

The American company Aspire uses robotics and automated data collection to grow insect protein on digitized farms. According to the company, insect protein has great potential for becoming a major food source in the future with much less damage to the environment due its limited need for water, land and energy compared to the production of beef protein. The farms are connected via the Internet of Things and can be set up identically at any location, allowing farmers to expect the same yields.

 April 6, 2020

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