For a long time, man has been thrilled at the prospects of merging electronics with biological systems. This is widely believed to be the next step for Artificial Intelligence which would lead to the creation of efficient machines that possess key aspects of the human brain such as decision making, cognitive thinking, and pattern recognition.
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It was on this premise that Oshiorenoya Agabi unveiled his breakthrough in creating a computer that merges synthetic neurobiology with silicon. In the presence and to the awe of 700 researchers, innovators, and academics from all over the world at the 2017 TEDGlobal Conference in Arusha, Tanzania, Agabi unveiled the modem-sized device which he calls Koniku Kore.
A Technology That Breathes And Smells
Koniku Kore is the first of its kind possessing the incredible ability to respond to its surroundings, sniff out explosives, and detect malignant tumours.
The creation for Koniku Kore has its basis in sound logic – to create an electronic system that processes and interprets data like a biological system, the right approach might be to design it with some elements of biological systems, thereby creating a hybrid machine of some sorts that incorporates key aspects of both man and machine.
Agabi and the rest of the team at Koniku have successfully put this theory into practice by borrowing the actual material of brains for the creation of systems that are is life-like but yet more efficient than standard silicon chips.
“We merged synthetic neurobiology with traditional silicon technology with the goal of fixing urgent real-world problems,” Agabi says.
The plan is to fuse live neurons from mice stem cells onto a silicon chip, thereby converging biology and electronics.
This makes sense because there are branches of artificial intelligence that do an excellent job of interpreting images and sound for predictive analysis, but there is still some work to be done if we want to create highly-functional electronic systems that can identify different kinds of smell. This is why Koniku is merging living systems with computers to create a machine that is fast, reliable, and smart.
Applications of Koniku Kore
Koniku Kore will be able to detect a range of diseases from, lung cancer to COVID-19, Agabi says. Perhaps its most outstanding quality is that it will be able to detect diseases that are yet to be discovered.
Koniku Kore’s application will span across various fields from agriculture and military, to healthcare and airport security. At the moment Koniku Kore can detect explosive materials just by exposing the device to the air.
Moreover, Agabi’s invention has been used at the Singapore Changi Airport. The promising ways in which Koniku Kore could impact the healthcare system has become more evident in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. This technology can go a long way in preventing the spread of such diseases around the world in the future.
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As of March 2020, Koniku had raised over $6 million from Venture Capitalist firms in Silicon Valley. Agabi projects revenue of $200 million in four years for Koniku. While Koniku Kore has been adopted at FMCG companies and airport security, Agabi is most eager to expand its application to the healthcare system, particularly in places like Nigeria where the health care sector is underdeveloped.
Taking what Agabi and his team have achieved so far, it is safe to say that they might be at the verge of creating a cutting edge device that would revolutionalize technology as we know it.
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