Bio Computers

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March 07, 2023

Why in news?

Scientists outlined a plan for a revolutionary area of research called organoid intelligence, which aims to create bio computers which harness the processing power of the brain.

What is the need for this technology?

  • Traditionally, researchers have used rat brains to investigate various human neurological disorders.
  • There are several differences in structure and function in the cognitive capacities of rodents and humans.

A new field called organoid intelligence could be the basis for computers powered by human brain cells.

What are bio computers?

  • Brain organoids – They are 3D cultures of brain tissue developed in the lab.
  • They are used to study human brain development and test drugs to see how they respond.
  • Bio computers – The brain organoids will be combined with modern computing methods to create bio computers.
  • Machine learning – The organoids will be coupled with machine learning by growing the organoids inside flexible structures affixed with multiple electrodes.
  • These structures will be able to record the firing patterns of the neurons and also deliver electrical stimuli, to mimic sensory stimuli and later analysed by machine-learning techniques.

Bio computer

What are the advantages of bio computers?

  • Process complex data – While human brains are slower than computers in simple arithmetic, bio computers outshine machines at processing complex information.
  • Easily to develop – Brain organoids can also be developed using stem cells from individuals with neurodegenerative diseases or cognitive disorders.
  • Biological basis – Comparing the data on brain structure, and signalling between healthy and patient-derived organoids can reveal the biological basis of human cognition, learning, and memory.
  • Decode pathology – They could also help decode the pathology of devastating neurodevelopmental and degenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s disease and microcephaly.

The Tele-Mental Health Assistance and Nationally Actionable Plan through States (T-MANAS) initiative was announced by the NIMHANS under the NTMHP to provide free round-the-clock tele-mental health services in all parts of the country.

What are the limitations of bio computers?

  • Not sophisticated – The human brain requires various sensory inputs to develop into the complex organ it is, and brain organoids developed in the lab aren’t sophisticated enough.
  • The organoids currently also don’t have blood circulation, which limits how they can grow.
  • Smaller in size – Currently, brain organoids have a diameter of less than 1 mm and have fewer than 100,000 cells, which make it roughly three-millionth the size of an actual human brain.
  • So scaling up the brain organoid is key to improving its computing capacity, as will incorporating non-neuronal cells involved in biological learning.
  • Microfluidic systems – Researchers will have to develop microfluidic systems to transport oxygen and nutrients, and remove waste products.
  • These hybrid systems will generate very large amounts of data, which researchers will need to store and analyse using Big Data infrastructure.
  • Ethical issues – There is also a proposal to have an ethics team to parallelly identify, discuss, and analyse ethical issues as they arise in the course of this work.



  1. The Hindu │What are bio computers?
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