Scientists have taught brain cells how to play the 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.

Experts describe the work as ”exciting” but say calling the brain cells sentient is going too far. The technology might eventually be used to test treatments for neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s.

Scientists connected 800,000 brain cells, from humans and mice, to a bed of electrodes linked to the computer tennis game using wires which allowed signals to pass back and forth.

The team selected Pong as it was one of the first games conquered by artificial intelligence. In just a few minutes, the neurons learned how to keep the ball in play.

The research was published in the academic journal Neuron

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