There are already computer chips with brain-like functions, but having them perform brain-like tasks? That's another challenge altogether. Researchers at UC Santa Barbara aren't daunted, however -- they've used a basic, 100-synapse neural circuit to perform the typical human task of image classification for the first time. The memristor-based technology (which, by its nature, behaves like an 'analog' brain) managed to identify letters despite visual noise that complicated the task, much as you would spot a friend on a crowded street. Conventional computers can do this, but they'd need a much larger, more power-hungry chip to replicate the same pseudo-organic behavior.