Scientists have developed a nanowire that functions similar to a biological nerve cell, an advance that could pave the way for building processors that mimic the human brain. The component is able to both save and process information, as well as receive numerous signals in parallel.
Researchers from Polytechnic University of Turin and RWTH Aachen University in Germany produced a memristive element made from nanowires. These could be used to build bioinspired “neuromorphic” processors, able to take over the diverse functions of biological synapses and neurons.
For years memristive cells have been ascribed the best chances of being capable of taking over the function of neurons and synapses in bioinspired computers. They alter their electrical resistance depending on the intensity and direction of the electric current flowing through them. In contrast to conventional transistors, their last resistance value remains intact even when the electric current is switched off. Memristors are thus fundamentally capable of learning.