Braincells for reaserch

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Braincells for reaserch

Postby brötchen » Sun Jan 02, 2011 1:32 pm UTC

recently i read an article about a small robot that was entirely controlled by rat neurons and since than i have been wondering how those neurons where obtained. one way would be to just cut open rat brains but that seems rather impractical as you would have to kill a new rat every time you want to perform an experiment just to get a few neurons, the other way would be to grow braincells in a cell culture like process. so if the last one is the case and substantial amounts of braincells can be produced from small samples why isn't this type of biological cpu (like the one driving the robot) used more widely? it would probably be hard to get it to do anything useful but if we can just grow them why not just produce a few thousand pieces and hand them to everyone interested so they can play with it and find out how to use them?

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Re: Braincells for reaserch

Postby bigglesworth » Sun Jan 02, 2011 3:04 pm UTC

It is indeed an interesting topic.

It is quite difficult, I believe, to grow neurons in culture, though it is possible. They also exhibit different properties to those grown within a brain.

As for "giving them to anyone interested", I believe these sorts of samples are available to anyone suitably equipped to look after and study them. This would require a laboratory of fairly modest proportions and a supply of chemicals to both maintain the neurons in culture and to interact with them. Also perhaps a patch-clamp setup (rather expensive). Plus whatever robotics equipment you plan to use.
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