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 Nanotube Brain

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Date posted: 29/01/2009

Scientists at the University of Southern California are trying to replicate the functions of brain neurons using carbon nanotubes. The end goal is to build an interconnected artificial brain that can do basic functions that the brains of animals can.

"At this point we still don't know if building a synthetic brain is feasible," said Alice Parker, professor of electrical engineering. "It may take decades to realize anything close to the human brain but emulating pieces of the brain, such as a synthetic vision system or synthetic cochlea that interface successfully with a real brain may be available quite soon, and synthetic parts of the brain's cortex within decades."

By 2022, with conventional technology, if the team could construct a synthetic brain that emulated real brain function, even crudely, it would take 100 billion artificial neurons and a very a large room to hold them.

"Obviously the technology will have to be downsized to aid a human being or be feasible as a robot brain," Parker said. Power is another consideration. The power requirements for a synthetic brain are staggering because a human brain never turns off. "In a transistor things are on or off so it's a black-or-white situation, but in the brain there are also many shades of gray and power is continuously being consumed," Parker noted.

See the full Story via external site: www.nsf.gov



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