Mind In Vitro Platforms: Versatile, Scalable, Robust, and Open Solutions to Interfacing with Living Neurons

Xiaotian Zhang, Zhi Dou, Seung Hyun Kim, Gaurav Upadhyay, Daniel Havert, Sehong Kang, Kimia Kazemi, Kai Yu Huang, Onur Aydin, Raymond Huang, Saeedur Rahman, Austin Ellis-Mohr, Hayden A. Noblet, Ki H. Lim, Hee Jung Chung, Howard J. Gritton, M. Taher A. Saif, Hyun Joon Kong, John M. Beggs, Mattia Gazzola

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Motivated by the unexplored potential of in vitro neural systems for computing and by the corresponding need of versatile, scalable interfaces for multimodal interaction, an accurate, modular, fully customizable, and portable recording/stimulation solution that can be easily fabricated, robustly operated, and broadly disseminated is presented. This approach entails a reconfigurable platform that works across multiple industry standards and that enables a complete signal chain, from neural substrates sampled through micro-electrode arrays (MEAs) to data acquisition, downstream analysis, and cloud storage. Built-in modularity supports the seamless integration of electrical/optical stimulation and fluidic interfaces. Custom MEA fabrication leverages maskless photolithography, favoring the rapid prototyping of a variety of configurations, spatial topologies, and constitutive materials. Through a dedicated analysis and management software suite, the utility and robustness of this system are demonstrated across neural cultures and applications, including embryonic stem cell-derived and primary neurons, organotypic brain slices, 3D engineered tissue mimics, concurrent calcium imaging, and long-term recording. Overall, this technology, termed “mind in vitro” to underscore the computing inspiration, provides an end-to-end solution that can be widely deployed due to its affordable (>10× cost reduction) and open-source nature, catering to the expanding needs of both conventional and unconventional electrophysiology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2306826
JournalAdvanced Science
Issue number11
StatePublished - Mar 20 2024


  • electrophysiology
  • in vitro neural interfaces
  • neural computing
  • open-source system

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Engineering
  • General Chemical Engineering
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology (miscellaneous)
  • General Materials Science
  • General Physics and Astronomy
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)


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