From its first version in 2017, artificial synapse leaped in stages having come a long way today. In a paper published recently on June 15 in Nature Materials, it presents testing of first biohybrid model of artificial synapse carried out by researchers, and that it can communicate with living cells.
Earlier, in 2017, researchers at Stanford University developed a new device that imitates the brain’s effective and low-energy neural learning process. The device developed was an artificial model of a synapse. Anatomically, synapse is the gap that neurotransmitters travel to send signals between neurons. Synapse is made of organic materials.
In its next stage, in 2019, researchers assembled nine artificial synapses in an array. This was to display that artificial synapse could be simultaneously programmed to imitate the parallel operation of the brain.
New Materials features to interact with Living Cells
Coming back to the recent version, future technologies originating from this device could function by directly responding to chemical signals released from the brain. The latest version of artificial synapse is an outcome of joint efforts of research conducted by researchers at Eindhoven University of Technology and Italian Institute of Technology.
The paper highlights unique strength of materials that we use to be able to interact with living matter. These materials perform with the same molecules that neurons use naturally. Meanwhile, the cells of these materials sit happy on the soft polymer.
Whilst, for other brain-integrated devices electricals signal is needed to perceive and process messages from the brain, for artificial synapse it is electrochemistry that enables communication between this devices and living cells. And, it appears as if the material is just another neuron that receives message from its neighbor.