MAY 14, 2015 7:51 AM PDT

Closer to AI: Electronic Long-Term Memory Cells Mirror Human Brain

WRITTEN BY: Will Hector
Memory is one of the more complex functions of the human brain. Leaving alone the debate about the accuracy of memory and the perceptual and psychological aspects of it, for purposes of this article let's focus simply on the human brain's ability to store and process multiple information threads simultaneously.

That was what a research team at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology used to construct an electronic multi-state memory cell at the university's MicroNano Research Facility (MNRF).
Newly developed memory nano cells can process strata of information simultaneously.
The larger goal of the project is to develop a bionic brain that functions effectively as a human brain would to enable advanced neurological research. The hope is that mimicking the key neurological features of the human brain will uncover effective treatment for neurodegenerative conditions like Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases without the ethical and legal obstacles involved in using live brains.

The development brings them closer to imitating key electronic aspects of the human brain -- a vital step towards creating a bionic brain -- which could help unlock successful treatments for common neurological conditions such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases.

The study, published in the journal Advanced Functional Materials, details the novel creation of analog nano cells that, unlike their digital predecessors that use binary code to store data, can store information in multiple states simultaneously.

Lead author Dr Hussein Nili said the new discovery is significant because the nano cells store and process information in the very same way that the brain does. Nano cell-based memories are the first step in developing an artificial intelligence storage system necessary to create a bionic brain.

Nili further explains: "Think of an old camera which could only take pictures in black and white. The same analogy applies here, rather than just black and white memories we now have memories in full color with shade, light and texture, it is a major step."

"We have now introduced controlled faults or defects in the oxide material along with the addition of metallic atoms, which unleashes the full potential of the 'memristive' effect--where the memory element's behavior is dependent on its past experiences."

Dr Sharath Sriram of the RMIT Functional Materials and Microsystems Research Group, added: "This is the closest we have come to creating a brain-like system with memory that learns and stores analog information and is quick at retrieving this stored information.

"The human brain is an extremely complex analog computer...its evolution is based on its previous experiences, and up until now this functionality has not been able to be adequately reproduced with digital technology."

The nano cell technology is built on last year's RMIT work on creating an ultra-thin, stacked memory structure using a functional oxide material. The nanometer-thick structure was 10,000 times thinner than a human hair.

Follow Will Hector on Twitter: @WriterWithHeart

(Scources: Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology; Science Daily)
About the Author
  • Will Hector practices psychotherapy at Heart in Balance Counseling Center in Oakland, California. He has substantial training in Attachment Theory, Hakomi Body-Centered Psychotherapy, Psycho-Physical Therapy, and Formative Psychology. To learn more about his practice, click here: http://www.heartinbalancetherapy.com/will-hector.html
You May Also Like
AUG 22, 2020
Drug Discovery & Development
Could a Drug for Bipolar Disorder Treat COVID-19?
AUG 22, 2020
Could a Drug for Bipolar Disorder Treat COVID-19?
Researchers have found that a drug currently used to treat bipolar disorder and hearing loss may also treat COVID-19 tha ...
SEP 01, 2020
Clinical & Molecular DX
Scalp Implants Monitor Epileptic Seizures
SEP 01, 2020
Scalp Implants Monitor Epileptic Seizures
Neuroscientists have developed devices that, when implanted under the scalp of individuals living with epilepsy, can mon ...
SEP 14, 2020
Clinical & Molecular DX
Peek into the Inner Workings of the Spinal Cord
SEP 14, 2020
Peek into the Inner Workings of the Spinal Cord
Scientists have established a state-of-the-art method for observing and analyzing the complex flurry of neurological act ...
SEP 21, 2020
Neuroscience
Scientists Compare Structural and Functional Evolution with First Atlas of Cavefish Brains
SEP 21, 2020
Scientists Compare Structural and Functional Evolution with First Atlas of Cavefish Brains
Cavefish are fish that dwell in caves, unable to access the outside world. Often, they were separated from their closest ...
NOV 20, 2020
Neuroscience
The Link Between Sleep Apnea and Autoimmune Disease
NOV 20, 2020
The Link Between Sleep Apnea and Autoimmune Disease
Researchers from the University of Georgia have found more evidence for the link between obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) a ...
NOV 20, 2020
Cannabis Sciences
Can Cannabis Treat Opiate Addiction?
NOV 20, 2020
Can Cannabis Treat Opiate Addiction?
As cannabis products become more popular, many healthcare professionals are starting to consider the plant as a part of ...
Loading Comments...