NC State researchers have created a new kind of soft, flexible memory device that functions like a memristor and has the consistency of Jell-O. In other words, it’s soft, flexible, works well in wet environments, and is pretty much ideally suited for biocompatible electronic devices that work inside of or on biological tissues--and perhaps interface with them.
Those mazes you used to complete with crayons when you were a kid? They’re not just child’s play. They’re actually analogous to a lot of mathematical models and problems that require time and, in most cases, a good deal of trial and error (read: dead ends) to solve. But using memristors--resistors with “memory”--a couple of researchers have created a memristor processor that solves mazes in a massively parallel way that has implications far beyond the puzzles page in an in-flight magazine.
Artificial intelligence has long been the overarching vision of computing, always the goal but never within reach. But using memristors from HP and steady funding from DARPA, computer scientists at Boston University are on a quest to build the electronic analog to a human brain. The software they are developing – called MoNETA for Modular Neural Exploring Traveling Agent – should be able to function more like a mammalian brain than a conventional computer.
DARPA's ardent desire to realize every sci-fi concept ever dreamed of continues with a biologically-inspired computer project which aims for feline brain functionality. But this time it's pinning its hopes on memristor devices which can simulate the behavior of biological synapses in the brain.
In 1971, electrical engineering professor Leon Chua proposed a theoretical basic electronics component called a memristor. In 2008, Hewlett Packard brought the memristor out of theory and into the real world. And today, HP announced that they have finally proven that they can build devices that use memristors, instead of the transistors that enable all current computer chips.
Are you reading this on your laptop? Are you ready to roll that laptop up and put it in your pocket? As we told you the other day, scientists revealed flexible coatings filled with e-ink that will turn just about any surface into a screen. Now other components of computers are breaking free from their silicon backbones and getting stretched. Next up: memory chips.
Since the invention of the transistor, silicon semiconductors have been king. But now silicon-based transistors are nearing the limit of their potential. Excess heat and manufacturing hurdles are impeding the development of ever-faster and -smaller processors. Advances in materials and chip design to resist extreme heat and move huge amounts of data, quickly, will be crucial. Experts are exploring three technologies to overcome these challenges: spintronics, graphene and memristors.