Our brains are the most powerful and efficient processors on this planet, and there is still a lot more that we have yet to learn about it. But a team from Stanford University used what we do know about the human brain to develop a circuit board that is thousands of times faster and enormously more efficient than standard PC’s.
The circuit board is called the Neurogrid and it can revolutionize the computing world as we know it. Computers based on conventional silicon structures are slow and require 40,000 times more power compared to the human brain. It’s obvious, then, that scientists would want to imitate the brain to create a faster computer.
The Stanford team created 16 neurocores to create the Neurogrid, each of which simulates the brain’s synaptic connections between millions of neurons. Some of the connections share circuits on the board, and they are 100,000 times more efficient than a PC. The Neurogrid is 9,000 times faster than modern computers, for most applications. The entire circuit board, with 16 neurocores, is the size of an iPad.
The developing team is researching ways to use Neurogrid for prosthetic technologies. The idea is to install a chip inside a paralyzed person’s brain that would interpret movement and give them better control over their prosthetic limbs. The only drawback of the circuit board is that it is not cost-efficient at the moment.
At the moment, each board costs $40,000 to make, but the Stanford team believe they can bring this down to $400 using new fabrication techniques. A new software that will make it easier for tech people to configure the circuit boards is also being developed. The research team hopes that Neurogrid provides real and workable solutions for robotics and cybernetics.