cellF is the world’s first neural synthesizer. It is a real “wet-alogue” Synthesizer. cellF’s “brain” is made of a biological neural network that grows in a Petri dish and controls in real time an array of analogue modular synthesizers that were custom made to work in synergy with the neural network. It is a completely autonomous, wet and analogue instrument.
In 2012, Guy Ben-Ary received a fellowship to develop a biological self-portrait, and decided to portray one of his juvenile dreams: to become a rock star.
Guy Ben-Ary had a biopsy taken from his arm, then he cultivated his skin cells in vitro in the labs of SymbioticA at UWA, and using Induced Pluripotent Stem cell technology, he transformed his skin cells into stem cells. When these stem cells began to differentiate they were pushed down the neuronal lineage until they became neural stem cells, which were then fully differentiated into neural networks over a Multi-Electrode Array (MEA) dish to become - “Ben-Ary’s external brain”.
The MEA dishes that host Ben-Ary’s neural networks consist of a grid of 8×8 electrodes. These electrodes can record the electric signals (action potentials) that the neurons produce and at the same time send stimulations to the neurons – essentially a read-and-write interface to the “brain”.