Главная - #СТУДFACTCHECK - Is it possible to connect to the virtual world, as in the film "The Matrix"? Is there a technology that can directly connect our brains to the virtual world?

Is it possible to connect to the virtual world, as in the film “The Matrix”? Is there a technology that can directly connect our brains to the virtual world?

On March 30, 2023, the article titled “Can we connect to the virtual world like in the film “The Matrix” was published on the EurekAlert website. The technology of microrobots was developed for the external connection of neural networks in vivo.”

The article says that a research group led by Professor Hongsu Choi from the Daegu Institute of Science and Technology who works at the Department of Robotics and Mechatronics has developed a microrobot capable of forming neural networks in sections of the hippocampus in vitro and ex vivo experiments. Thanks to a joint study with a team led by Dr. Jeong Chol Ra from the Korean Institute of Brain Research, scientists have confirmed the possibility of analyzing structurally and functionally related neural networks using a microrobot in an in vitro environment during cell delivery and transplantation.

The author of the article, Wankyu Lim, claims that scientists have developed a microrobot that connects to the neural networks of the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for memory consolidation. The title of the article suggests that it will focus on the technology being tested on humans. However, further in its content, there aren’t any allusions about human studies. They are talking about experiments on mice.

Our team became interested in this problem. We decided to check the following aspects of the publication:

  • Does this technology really exist?
  • Is it possible to connect to the virtual world, as in the film “The Matrix”?
  • What are potential benefits and risks will arise as a result of connecting our minds to virtual reality?
  • Does the content of the publication correspond to the current development of technology in the scientific field?

Also, the question was raised by the very fact of the existence of the scientists who are listed in this article and their research.

Picture 1 (EurekAlert)

To begin with, we decided to look in more detail at the content of the article, the terms which were used in it and how this technology really works.

The article says that in the course of their work, scientists are developing nanoparticles that are directly embedded in the neural networks of the hippocampus or rather in slices of the hippocampus of mice. So, it is not the whole brain of an animal moving freely but sliced pieces of the brain that are placed in special laboratory conditions. Thanks to these circumstances they can function. For example, if you cut this hippocampus into slices and put them in a microscope chamber which will be perfused with a special solution and gas. That is, it is not the entire brain of an animal that is moving freely, but rather, sliced pieces of brain that are placed under special laboratory conditions, thanks to which they can function. For example, if we cut this hippocampus into slices and place it in a microscopic chamber, which is then perfused with a specific solution and gas, we can see that these neural slices from the hippocampus are alive. It is there where these nanoparticles were inserted, which established a connection with the neural network of the hippocampus.

But if we go into this even more detail, there are also questions about how to establish a connection. According to the article, scientists have measured the activity of hippocampal neural networks through the interaction of processes and nanoparticles, which go from nanoparticles to neural networks and the hippocampus. Now, they function in a similar way to neurons themselves. This is the thesis that the article raises.

Is this true? We believe that this is primarily a technological, rather than a micro-robotic, approach. The technology for interacting with any artificial components and managing neural networks already exists, and it really does do this. However, there is no proof that artificial nanoparticles actually produce neuron-like functions.

Also, the question was raised by the fact that there are scientists listed in this article, but there are no links to their pages, scientific articles, or works. This suggests that these scientists might not actually exist.

The mention of Professor Hongsu Choi and his work on “Microrobots” is on the official website of the Microbiotics Research Center (DEMRK), where he is also listed as a professor at the Daegu Gyeongbuk Institute of Science and Technology and Department of Robotics. He has written 12 articles on microbiotics in the public domain, and there are many scientific papers available to scientists that have been cited over 4.5 thousand times, with the first mentioning micro-robots dating back to 2013.

Jung Chul Ra has over 80 scientific papers in the field of neurophysiology, and 6 articles with open access. Since 2014, he has been affiliated with the Daegu Gyeongbuk Institute of Science and Technology, and the Korean Institute for Brain Research. His work has been cited over 2,000 times. Therefore, this fact can be confirmed as “true.”

On March 31st, 2023, an article published by Geoffrey Golovanov on the HI-TECH+ website referenced the original source, EurekAlert.

The article discusses the development of a micro robot that can connect to the neural networks in the hippocampus, using electrochemistry. The robot is able to transmit and read electrical signals directly through the axons, and it can also form new neural networks. Experiments were conducted on the living tissues of laboratory mice, confirming the possibility of analyzing structurally and functionally connected neural networks with the help of micro-robots in an artificial environment. This new technology has the potential for use in cell therapy and regenerative medicine, as well as in other areas such as healthcare and research.”

Figure 2 (HIGH-TECH+)

In order to better understand this topic, we contacted our expert, Albina Vladimirovna Lebedeva, a Candidate of Biological Sciences and senior researcher at the Research Institute of Neuroscience at Lobachevsky University. 

— First of all, we were interested in the question: is it possible to transmit any special commands to the nanoparticles represented?

— Is it possible to extract information from specific parts of the brain of a human or animal, and then use it and add it elsewhere? The answer is yes. Of course, there are various nuances and subtleties involved, as when we work with laboratory animals, things are a little different because they are specifically bred for research purposes. For example, we use special multichannel electrodes that can be implanted into animals. These electrodes can record and monitor neuronal activity. This neuronal activity is then recorded on a computer or elsewhere. We can use this information, for example, by feeding it pre-recorded to additional animals, to see if their memory improves or if any behavioral patterns change. It is difficult, but in principle, this is possible.”

— Is it also possible to transfer information from one person to another, or conversely, take information from a person’s brain and transfer it to nanoparticles, and then transfer it somewhere else?

— Such technologies are emerging. In humans, electrophysiological activity can only be recorded through very complex and delicate procedures. For example, during surgery, when removing hyperexcitable neurons that cause epilepsy from a part of the hippocampus, under certain conditions. If there is an agreement with the patient and all ethical standards are followed, neurophysiological studies can be carried out simultaneously.”

On March 31, 2023, an article was published on the 24Newsbreaker website, entitled “This technology can connect us to the virtual world, as in the Matrix, containing similar material.

It tells us that the microbot managed to form artificial neural networks in the mouse brain. To do this, the research team used micro robots in which the connection of neural networks can be practically applied. This technology used micro robots to analyze functionally connected neural networks in ex vivo; brain tissue from laboratory mice was used to conduct the experiment.

The research team placed a micro robot in the mouse hippocampus by controlling a magnetic field. Thanks to immunofluorescence staining, the team noticed that microrobot cells and hippocampal cells are connected by structural neurites.

Figure 3 (24Newsbreaker)

During the experiment, it was confirmed that electrical signals usually propagate through nerve cells in the hippocampus tissue. Thus, the research team confirmed that cells reproduced by a micro robot can functionally form nerve cells and neural networks directly in slices of the hippocampus of laboratory mice. 

We have shown that the neural tissue of the brain of laboratory mice and a micro robot can be functionally connected through the formation of neurites and a neuronal network directly. It is expected that this technology will be used for the narrowly targeted treatment of neurodegenerative diseases associated with loss of hippocampal functions, — Dr. Hongsu Choi from the Daegu Gyeongbuk Institute of Science and Technology said in the article. 

In the process of working on this story, we have repeatedly encountered similar publications. They described similar technologies and examples of human trials, of which we could not find scientific evidence. For example, a similar article on the topic “Tiny robots with vibration can rebuild your body from the inside” was published on engadget.  Its author Ion Fingas, referring to a statement by Allison Carter from the Georgia Institute of Technology, writes that they have developed tiny “bristle bots” that move, causing unusual vibration – from various sources, whether ultrasound or the nearest speaker. The trick was to combine a tiny piezoelectric drive with a 3D-printed polymer body, whose bristle-shaped legs are tilted to move in certain directions in a resonant response to vibrations. 

Figure 4 (engadget)

When the reader sees the title of the article, he thinks that these particles already exist and experiments have been carried out, so they could already start their work. But as you read the text, you realize that you have been misled, since this technology is still under development. It is unclear whether even any animal experiments have been conducted at all, especially since there is no question of human trials.  The article only points out that robots can eliminate health problems from the inside or perform simpler tasks, such as monitoring environmental conditions and moving small objects, but only if “the technology continues to evolve”.

In order to understand whether such a technology can even develop in the future and what impact it will have on the immune system and the human body, we turned to our expert again.

— Can there be any potential problems or risks in the interaction of micro robots with the immune system? How does the immune system react to such an invasion? Maybe some negative consequences should be taken into account?

— In terms of the immune system, there can certainly be neuroinflammation or just inflammation if non-sterile components are used. But since we are talking about the whole brain, when we implant electrodes, the immune system of the whole body will not act directly there. In the brain, the functions of the immune system are performed by microglia (resident macrophages of the central nervous system), which is why it will try to utilize these components.  Therefore, biocompatibility technologies of implantable artificial components or electrodes are needed,” commented Albina Lebedeva.

— So does such a technology exist in the end? Can micro robots be used to expand the capabilities of the human brain if they can generate new neural connections?

— At the moment, there is a similar actively developing technology, but it is related to stem cells. Researchers strive to ensure that artificially implanted stem cells are expressed into the right type of cell, for example, into nerve cells or into muscle cells directly from stem cells. However, despite the fact that such technologies are actively developing, no breakthrough results have been presented so far. Micro-robots that will grow neural networks, perhaps in combination with stem cells or with cell cultures that have directed growth, can lead to breakthrough results. But it takes time to develop such technologies.


Based on the above information, we came to the conclusion that this technology is possible, and it does exist, but not in the sense indicated in the original article. The researchers confirmed that the micro robot is able to successfully integrate into the tissue of the mouse hippocampus, thereby forming functional neural networks, which opens up new prospects in the field of medicine and biotechnology.

However, despite the breakthrough in the development of this technology, it should be noted that it is only at the initial stage of development. Currently, the interaction of the brain with artificial intelligence and virtual reality remains a difficult task. Experts admit that these technologies are actively developing, but they have not yet reached the end point where artificial neurons can fully integrate with the brain.

Thus, it is important to understand that although there are real successes in this area, the technology is still in the process of development. Therefore, as a result, summarizing the data and opinions of experts, we came to the conclusion that the original news, although it contains some truthful information, its reliability is in doubt in some aspects, therefore, we can characterize the original thesis as “Mostly true / Mostly Truth”.

Authors: Arina Gorshenkova, Alina Kalashnikova, Anastasia Zakharova, Alena Manina

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