ACM news – 26/11/2012
University of Heidelberg researchers have developed the Spikey chip, which features a neuromatic design that tries to recreate the brain’s hardware using analog circuitry. “On our system, you can physically point to the neuron,” says Heidelberg researcher Karlheinz Meier. The Spikey chip contains 400 “neurons,” or printed circuits. Similar to a real neuron, when the applied voltage reaches a certain level, the capacitor becomes conductive, firing a “nerve signal.” The analog components have variable levels of resistance to simulate the way connections between neurons become stronger or weaker depending on how much they are used. The researchers connected the neurons in different ways to mimic various brain circuits. So far the researchers have modeled six neural networks. “This is as good as you can get in simulating neural architecture,” says Boson University professor Massimiliano Versace. The researchers are currently scaling up Spikey as part of the BrainScales projects. “Instead of 400 neurons we have 200,000,” says Heidelberg researcher Thomas Pfeil. The researchers have printed all of the circuits onto a 20-centimeter silicon wafer, which enables them to incorporate many more connections.
More info here: New Scientist (11/22/12) Michael Marshall