What is meant by ‘Organoid Intelligence’?

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What is meant by ‘Organoid Intelligence’? Blog Image


Scientists at Johns Hopkins University (JHU) recently outlined a plan for a potentially revolutionary new area of research called “organoid intelligence”, which aims to create “biocomputers”:

What is an Organoid?

  • Organoids are lab-grown tissues that resemble organs.
  • They are three-dimensional structures usually derived from stem cells.
  • They are smaller, simpler versions of an organ and can mimic the architecture and function of specific organs in the body.
  • They can be crafted to replicate much of the complexity of an organ or to express selected aspects of it, like producing only certain types of cells.
  • Organoids can range in size from less than the width of a hair to five millimeters.

What is meant by ‘Organoid Intelligence’?

  • It refers to the ability of organoids to exhibit certain behaviors or responses that are indicative of intelligence, such as problem-solving, learning, or adapting to changing environments.
  • It is an emerging field where researchers are developing biological computing using 3D cultures of human brain cells (brain organoids) and brain-machine interface technologies.
  • These organoids share aspects of brain structure and function that play a key role in cognitive functions like learning and memory.
  • They would essentially serve as biological hardware and could one day be even more efficient than current computers running AI programs.
  • OI requires scaling up current brain organoids into complex, durable 3D structures enriched with cells and genes associated with learning and connecting these to next-generation input and output devices and AI/machine learning systems.
  • OI requires new models, algorithms, and interface technologies to communicate with brain organoids, understand how they learn and compute, and process and store the massive amounts of data they will generate.

What are Biocomputers?

  • They are a type of computer that use biological molecules, such as DNA or proteins, to perform computational tasks.
  • These computers can perform certain operations much faster than traditional electronic computers and have the potential to revolutionize fields such as medicine and biotechnology.
  • One type of biocomputer is a DNA computer, which uses strands of DNA to store and process information.


Q1) What are stem cells?

Stem cells are special human cells that are able to develop into many different cell types. This can range from muscle cells to brain cells. In some cases, they can also fix damaged tissues.

Source: Explained | What are ‘bio-computers’ and what can they tell us about the human brain?