We are closer than ever to creating synthetic human brain cells that will one day replace the damaged and damaged human brain. Developments in the past decade have opened up new doors to understanding how such synthetic neurons might be used in the healthy human brain to hold, store, and retrieve data—information that could, in turn, provide treatments for memory loss and other mental disorders. Recently, scientists were able to make parts of artificial brain cells that can hold memories for milliseconds.
With these recent developments, researchers are one step closer to creating computers that can mimic the efficiency of the brain. Scientists are now designing hardware that will use ions, as the brain does, in order to copy its biological machinery. Neuromorphic computing is the next big thing in computing — and for a very good reason. Scientists aim to build computers that are more human-like in every way imaginable, although the process is a difficult one. That said, a lot of progress has been made toward making computers more human-like in recent years. We’ve come a long way toward creating computers that can learn and remember without instruction manuals, that can problem-solve in ways we can’t quite comprehend.
In a recent study, researchers successfully made a computer model of artificial neurons. By sending ions through thin channels of water, researchers simulated the signals neurons use to transfer information. “To my knowledge, it’s the first time that people [have done] this with ions,” declared École Normale Supérieure physicist Lydéric Bocquet, who is the co-author of the study. “It’s exciting because it’s a playground now. We can explore these things actively.” Although we don’t yet know how to create an artificial brain, this research will help us better understand the human brain and its computing processes.