Latest in Science

Image credit:

Brain-like computers may now be realistic

Artificial synapses are using less power than the real thing.
Jon Fingas, @jonfingas
June 21, 2016
Share
Tweet
Share

Sponsored Links

Bjoern Meyer via Getty Images

Power consumption is one of the biggest reasons why you haven't seen a brain-like computer beyond the lab: the artificial synapses you'd need tend to draw much more power than the real thing. Thankfully, realistic energy use is no longer an unattainable dream. Researchers have built nanowire synapses that consume just 1.23 femtojoules of power -- for reference, a real neuron uses 10 femtojoules. They achieve that extremely low demand by using a wrap of two organic materials to release and trap ions, much like real nerve fibers.

There's a lot of work to be done before this is practical. The scientists want to shrink their nanowires down from 200 nanometers thick to a few dozen, and they'd need new 3D printing techniques to create structures that more closely imitate real brains. Nonetheless, the concept of computers with brain-level complexity is that much more realistic -- the team tells Scientific American that it could see applications in everything from smarter robots and self-driving cars through to advanced medical diagnosis.

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Comment
Comments
Share
Tweet
Share

Popular on Engadget

Rain may soon be an effective source of renewable energy

Rain may soon be an effective source of renewable energy

View
Google Meet’s premium features are now free through Sept. 30th

Google Meet’s premium features are now free through Sept. 30th

View
Apple makes some of its originals available for free

Apple makes some of its originals available for free

View
The best games for PC

The best games for PC

View
What’s good about Amazon’s Fire TV Stick?

What’s good about Amazon’s Fire TV Stick?

View

From around the web

Page 1Page 1ear iconeye iconFill 23text filevr