Australian bio-engineers have mimicked the human brain with an electronic chip that uses light to create and modify memories.
How it works:
The chip is based on an ultra-thin material that changes electrical resistance in response to different wavelengths of light, enabling it to mimic the way that neurons work to store and delete information in a human brain.
Why it matters:
The technology is a step further towards artificial intelligence that can harness the brain’s full sophisticated functionality. Forming the early stages of a bionic brain – a brain-on-a-chip that can learn from its environment the same as a human brain does.
The research is also hoped to better understand the brain and how it’s affected by disorders that disrupt neural connections, like Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
Ask the expert:
Dr Sumeet Walia RMIT Universities MicroNano Research Team Leader:
“Our chip imitates the fundamental biology of nature’s best computer – the human brain.”
“Being able to store, delete and process information is critical for computing, and the brain does this extremely efficiently.”
“We’re able to simulate the brain’s neural approach simply by shining different colours onto our chip.”