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Not a lot of brain power is needed to play the 1970s video game “Pong” – a few brain cells can do it.

Recently, scientists taught a dish of living brain cells how to play the cult table tennis game, in a study that aims to understand how neurons learn and how computers can become smarter, NPR reported.

Researchers at the Australia-based Cortical Labs used a system called “DishBrain,” which consists of a layer of living neurons grown on a special silicon chip at the bottom of a thumb-sized dish filled with nutrients.

The chip – which is linked to a computer – detects the electrical impulses produced by the brain cells and also sends signals to them.

The team then observed how the cells performed when the computer started the two-dimensional Pong: The computer would deliver signals to the cells to indicate where the ball was moving and monitor information coming from the neurons in the form of electrical pulses.

While the cells didn’t understand what was happening at first, researchers used a combination of electrical stimulation to hint when the cells hit or missed the ball.

The approach helped the neurons become more skilled – but none mastered the game. Still, the authors noted that human brain cells proved to be more capable at Pong than mouse or cockroach neurons.

Study author Brett Kagan said the findings point to a future in which biology assists computers in becoming more intelligent by altering the way they learn.

“We’ve made huge strides with silicon computing but they’re still rigid and inflexible,” he noted. “That’s something we don’t see with biology.”

Meanwhile, other scientists added that the DishBrain system could be a great tool to learn more about the mysteries of the mind.

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