Experts create electronic components that mimic the learning human brain

This is a major advance in the field of IT. American researchers have recently succeeded in developing electronic components capable of functioning at the same voltage level as the human brain.

“It is the first time that a component can function at the same level of tension as a human brain”

In the context of work on protein nanowires, presented in the review Nature Communications, a team from the University of Massachusetts to Amherst identified a way to use these conductive biological filaments to make artificial synapses called ” memristors ” Like synapses in the human brain, which transmit signals between neurons, these components work very efficiently at very low voltage.

So far, one of the biggest obstacles to the development of neuromorphic computing has come down to the fact that most conventional computers operate at more than 1 volt, when the human brain sends signals called action potentials between neurons just 80 millivolts “, Explain Tianda Fu, co-author of the study.

As part of their experiments, the American researchers succeeded in operating their memristors at neurological stresses using protein nanowires derived from the bacteria. Geobacter.

It is the first time that a component can function at the same level of tension as a human brain “Says the researcher Jun Yao, having supervised the works. ” This is a conceptual breakthrough that should spark a lot of exploration in the field of electronics operating at biological tensions. “

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Protein nanowires (green) harvested from the bacteria Geobacter (orange) allow the memristor (silver) to operate at biological tensions

“Unlike a conventional computer, the learning capacity of this device does not depend on software”

After shearing the nanowires of bacteria, so that only the conductive protein is used, the researchers passed them through their circuits to observe their behavior at different voltages. To do this, they used a device similar to an on / off switch, with positive and negative charge pulses passing through a wire 100 times thinner than a human hair.

The metal wire was precisely chosen because the nanowires of proteins facilitate the metal reduction, which changes the reactivity of metal ions and the electron transfer properties. As the pulses cause changes in the metallic filaments, new ramifications and connections are created, which the researchers say are similar to the new connections formed in a real brain during learning.

You can modulate the conductivity or plasticity of the nanowire synapse so that it can emulate biological components in the context of calculations inspired by the functioning of the human brain. But unlike a conventional computer, the learning capacity of this device does not depend on software “, Specify the authors of the study.

The conductive protein nanowires used have many advantages over their expensive silicon pendants: their production does not require the use of toxic chemicals and energy-consuming processes, and these also prove to be more stable in water or body fluids, key characteristic for biomedical applications (implants).

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