A Swiss biocomputing startup, FinalSpark, has launched an innovative online platform called Neuroplatform, providing remote access to 16 human brain organoids. This groundbreaking service claims to be the world’s first online platform delivering access to biological neurons in vitro. Notably, FinalSpark states that bioprocessors like those used in Neuroplatform consume a million times less power than traditional digital processors, promising a significant reduction in the environmental impacts of computing.

FinalSpark asserts that its Neuroplatform is capable of learning and processing information. Its remarkably low power consumption could drastically cut the energy costs associated with computing. According to a recent research paper by FinalSpark, training a single large language model (LLM) like GPT-3 required approximately 10 GWh—around 6,000 times the annual energy consumption of an average European citizen. By deploying bioprocessors, such immense energy expenditure could be significantly reduced.

Neuroplatform operates using an architecture classified as “wetware,” which integrates hardware, software, and biology. The platform’s main innovation lies in the use of four Multi-Electrode Arrays (MEAs), each housing living tissue organoids—3D cell masses of brain tissue. Each MEA holds four organoids, interfaced by eight electrodes used for both stimulation and recording. Data exchange is facilitated via digital analog converters (Intan RHS 32 controller) with a 30kHz sampling frequency and a 16-bit resolution. These architectural features are supported by a microfluidic life support system for the MEAs and monitoring cameras. Additionally, a software stack allows researchers to input data variables and interpret processor output.

To foster bioprocessing research and development, FinalSpark has granted access to its remote computing platform to nine institutions. With their collaboration, the company aims to create the world’s first living processor. Furthermore, three dozen universities have expressed interest in accessing Neuroplatform.

Educational institutions can subscribe to the Neuroplatform for $500 per user per month. While silicon chips can last for years or even decades, the neuronal structures forming bioprocessors have a shorter lifespan, suitable for experiments running for several months. Initially, the MEAs developed by FinalSpark lasted only a few hours. However, refinements to the system have extended the organoid lifespan to approximately 100 days, marking a significant advancement in the field.

FinalSpark’s Neuroplatform is set to revolutionize biocomputing, offering a sustainable and innovative approach to processing information using human brain organoids.

By Impact Lab