2022 - A chemically mediated artificial neuron
Port-a-Patch publication in Nature Electronics (2022)
Wang T., Wang M., Wang J., Yang L., Ren X., Song G., Chen S., Yuan Y., Liu R., Pan L., Li Z., Leow W.R., Luo Y., Ji S., Cui Z., He K., Zhang F., Lv F., Tian Y., Cai K., Yang B., Niu J., Zou H., Liu S., Xu G., Fan X., Hu B., Loh X.J., Wang L. Chen X.
Nature Electronics (2022) doi:10.1038/s41928-022-00803-0
Brain–machine interfaces typically rely on electrophysiological signals to interpret and transmit neurological information. In biological systems, however, neurotransmitters are chemical-based interneuron messengers. This mismatch can potentially lead to incorrect interpretation of the transmitted neuron information. Here we report a chemically mediated artificial neuron that can receive and release the neurotransmitter dopamine. The artificial neuron detects dopamine using a carbon-based electrochemical sensor and then processes the sensory signals using a memristor with synaptic plasticity, before stimulating dopamine release through a heat-responsive hydrogel. The system responds to dopamine exocytosis from rat pheochromocytoma cells and also releases dopamine to activate pheochromocytoma cells, forming a chemical communication loop similar to interneurons. To illustrate the potential of this approach, we show that the artificial neuron can trigger the controllable movement of a mouse leg and robotic hand.