Cameras have been using light to make memories for years. Soon computers could do it too, thanks to a new chip from RMIT University, The Australian National University and Queensland University of Technology.
Relying on a technique known as optogenetics, the device uses different-coloured lights to switch electrical currents from positive to negative.
Researcher Dr Sumeet Walia says it brings science a step closer to genuine artificial intelligence.
“Our optogenetically-inspired chip imitates the fundamental biology of nature’s best computer – the human brain,” Dr Walia says.
“Being able to store, delete and process information is critical for computing, and the brain does this extremely efficiently.”
The chip is made of a special material, black phosphorus, which records the change in electrical current similar to the way neurons bind in the brain, creating or deleting memories in response to electrical signals.
“This technology takes us further on the path towards fast, efficient and secure light-based computing,” Dr Walia says.
“It also brings us an important step closer to the realisation of a bionic brain – a brain-on-a-chip that can learn from its environment just like humans do.”
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