Innervating chips

Published: Saturday 31 January 1998

Neurophysicist Jerome Pine and his colleagues have assembled the first neurochip at the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, USA. A neurochip is silicon chip with living nerve cells or neurones. The scientists bored 16 tiny wells in the chip. An embryonic rat brain cell was introduced in each well. As the cell duplicated and grew, the thread-like extensions of the nerve cells (dendrites) went into the tunnels and came into contact with other dendrites, making a network. The cells could be kept alive for two weeks. Pine hopes to use such a device to understand the activity of neurones (Science , Vol 278, No 5340).

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