This Is Your Grid on Brains

Managing power networks in the future may involve a little more brain power than it does today, if researchers at Missouri University of Science and Technology succeed in a new project that involves literally tapping brain cells grown on networks of electrodes.

The Missouri S&T group, working with researchers at Georgia Institute of Technology, plans to use the brain power to develop a new method for tracking and managing the constantly changing levels of power supply and demand.

Led by Dr. Ganesh Kumar Venayagamoorthy, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering at Missouri S&T, the researchers will use living neural networks composed of thousands of brain cells from laboratory rats to control simulated power grids in the lab. From those studies, the researchers hope to create a "biologically inspired" computer program to manage and control complex power grids in Mexico, Brazil, Nigeria and elsewhere.

The research is funded through a $2 million grant from the National Science Foundation's Division of Emerging Frontiers in Research and Innovation. Georgia Tech researchers include ECE Professor Ronald G. Harley and Steve Potter, associate professor in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory University.

Last revised August 1, 2017