Lab-grown brain cells play video game Pong

Researchers have grown brain cells in a lab that have learned to play the 1970s tennis-like video game, Pong,

They say their “mini-brain” can sense and respond to its environment.

Writing in the journal Neuron, Dr Brett Kagan, of the company Cortical Labs, claims to have created the first ”sentient” lab-grown brain in a dish.

Other experts describe the work as ”exciting” but say calling the brain cells sentient is going too far.

“We could find no better term to describe the device,” Dr Kagan says. ”It is able to take in information from an external source, process it and then respond to it in real time.”

Mini-brains were first produced in 2013, to study microcephaly, a genetic disorder where the brain is too small, and have since been used for research into brain development.

But this is the first time they have been plugged into, and interacted with, an external environment, in this case a video game.

The research team:

In response, the cells produced electrical activity…

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