March 17, 2009

An IPhone Could Help Your Brain Memorize, Early Accelerated Brain Chips and Memristor chips

Biofeedback Method to Put Oneself into Memorize Mode

When the medial temporal lobe, a region of the brain associated with memory formation, is active you will be able memorize what is happening and when it is not then you will forget it. An iPhone could be connected to a magnetoencephalograph to read theta waves and biofeedback could be used to train a person to use the brain readout to place themselves into memorize mode.

Brain Chip that is 100,000 Times Faster than Biological Brain

A Prototype brain chip has been made by the EU-supported FACETS project with a network of 300 neurons and half a million synapses on a single chip.

The team used analogue electronics to represent the neurons and digital electronics to represent communications between them. It’s a unique combination. Since the neurons are so small, the system runs 100,000 times faster than the biological equivalent and 10 million times faster than a software simulation. “We can simulate a day in one second,” Meier notes.



The team are working on stage 2, a network of 200,000 neurons and 50 million synapses that will incorporate all the neuroscience discoveries made so far. To build it, the team is creating its network on a single 20cm silicon disk, a ‘wafer’, of the type normally used to mass-produce chips before they are cut out of the wafer and packaged. This approach will make for a more compact device.







Practical neural computers could be only five years away. “The first step could be a little add-on to your computer at home, a device to handle very complex input data and to provide a simple decision,” Meier says. “A typical thing could be an internet search.”

In the longer term, he sees applications for neural computers wherever there are complex and difficult decisions to be made.

Memristor Chip
A University of Michigan electrical engineer has built a chip composed of nanoscale memristors that can store up to 1 kilobit of information.

"We demonstrated CMOS-compatible, ultra-high-density memory arrays based on a silicon memristive system. This is an important first step." said Wei Lu, an assistant professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. CMOS stands for complementary metal oxide semiconductor. It is the technology used in modern microchips.

The density of a memristor-based memory chip could be at least an order of magnitude—a factor of 10—higher than current transistor-based chips. Such high density circuits can also be very fast, Lu says. You could save data to a memristor memory three orders of magnitude faster than saving to today's flash memory, for example.

Lu says memristors could open the door to universal memory. And because of how densely they can be crammed onto integrated circuits, memristors also offer hope for robust biologically-inspired logic circuits. Each neuron in the human brain is connected to 10,000 other neurons through synapses, Lu says. Engineers can't achieve that kind of connectivity with today's transistor-based circuits. But memristor circuits could potentially overcome this problem.

A paper on this research, "High-density crossbar arrays based on a Si memristive system," is published in Nano Letters.

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