World’s Smallest Brain-Inspired Computer – So Small That It Can Harvest Its Energy Itself

The energy consumption of the device will be so small that it can harvest its energy itself, directly from its surroundings. The project has received funding from the Villum Experiment program.

By AARHUS UNIVERSITY 

Artificial intelligence (AI) has seen explosive growth in recent years, but despite major progress, the power required to run AI algorithms continues to increase.

In stark contrast to this, the human brain only requires around 20W to perform more than 10 quadrillions (10,000,000,000,000,000) operations. This is 12 orders of magnitude better than modern supercomputer technologies.

“That’s why we’re conducting intensive research into developing new hardware that mimics the structure of the human brain, with neurons, synapses, and neural networks, known as brain-inspired computing (BICs). But even though we’ve managed to drastically reduce the energy consumption of AI algorithms, there’s still a long way to go before BICs are as efficient as the human brain when it comes to size and energy efficiency,” says Hooman Farkhani, an assistant professor at the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Aarhus University.

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Intel’s Loihi 2 speeds effort to make neuromorphic chips like human brains

Intel’s Loihi 2 neuromorphic chip measures 30 square millimeters.

Stephen Shankland

The chip also is a key product in Intel’s plan to reclaim its processor manufacturing prowess.

Intel unveiled its Loihi 2 chip on Thursday, the second generation of a processor family that marries conventional electronics with the architecture of human brains to try to inject some new progress into the computing industry. On top of that, the chip also helps Intel advance its own manufacturing technology.

Loihi 2, an example of a technology called neuromorphic computing, is about 10 times faster than its predecessor, according to Intel. The speed improvement is the result of an eightfold increase in the number of digital neurons, a chip equivalent to human brain cells that mimic the way the brains handle information. The chip also can be programmed better to help researchers tackle more computing tasks.

The chip is built with a preproduction version of the Intel 4 manufacturing process, too, an advanced method Intel plans to use to build mainstream Intel chips arriving in 2023. The Intel 4 process can etch electronics more densely on a chip, a crucial advantage for Intel’s need to pack a million digital neurons on a chip measuring 30 square millimeters.

Loihi chips are particularly good at rapidly spotting sensory input like gestures, sounds and even smells, says Mike Davies, leader of the Intel Labs group that developed Loihi. Some experiments have focused on artificial skin that could give robots a better sense of touch. “We can detect slippage if a robot hand is picking up a cup,” Davies said.

Neuromorphic computing differs from artificial intelligence, a revolutionary computer technology based more loosely on how brains learn and respond, because it focuses more on the physical characteristics of human gray matter.

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Samsung wants to reverse engineer human brain and replicate it on 3D chip


By Asif S.

Samsung has announced a new way to reverse engineer the human brain and mimic it with semiconductor chips. The world’s biggest memory chip maker has collaborated with Harvard University researchers to share a new approach that takes the world one step closer to making neuromorphic chips.

Harvard scholars and Samsung engineers have published a new perspective paper titled ‘Neuromorphic electronics based on copying and pasting the brain’ on Nature Electronics.

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New Brain Implant Restores Sense of Touch on Fingertips

A chiropractor performing a nerve conduction velocity (NCV) test on a patient.

By  Fabienne Lang

The little electrode brain implant has the potential to help millions of people living with paralysis and neuropathy.

Imagine not being able to feel the warmth of a hand holding yours, or the buttons of your shirt as you try and do it up.

Millions of people live with paralysis and peripheral neuropathy — when nerves in the body’s extremities, such as hands and feet, are damaged — and aren’t able to feel sensations through their fingertips and toes. 

But that might all be about to change.

Researchers at The Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research managed to evoke the sense of touch in fingers using a minimally invasive electrode brain implant. The study, a first-in-human one, offers the potential to change the lives of millions of people around the world.

The details were published in the journal Brain Stimulation.

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Tiny “Neurograins” Could Power Next Generation of Brain-Computer Interfaces

Tiny chips called neurograins are able to sense electrical activity in the brain and transmit that data wirelessly. Credit: Jihun Lee/ Brown University

Brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) are emerging assistive devices that may one day help people with brain or spinal injuries to move or communicate. BCI systems depend on implantable sensors that record electrical signals in the brain and use those signals to drive external devices like computers or robotic prosthetics.

Most current BCI systems use one or two sensors to sample up to a few hundred neurons, but neuroscientists are interested in systems that are able to gather data from much larger groups of brain cells.

Now, a team of researchers has taken a key step toward a new concept for a future BCI system — one that employs a coordinated network of independent, wireless microscale neural sensors, each about the size of a grain of salt, to record and stimulate brain activity. The sensors, dubbed “neurograins,” independently record the electrical pulses made by firing neurons and send the signals wirelessly to a central hub, which coordinates and processes the signals.

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Implantable brain device relieves pain in early study

Cerebellum of CIVM postnatal rat brain atlas.

by NYU Langone Health

A computerized brain implant effectively relieves short-term and chronic pain in rodents, a new study finds.

The experiments, conducted by investigators at NYU Grossman School of Medicine, offer what the researchers call a “blueprint” for the development of brain implants to treat painsyndromes and other brain-based disorders, such as anxiety, depression, and panic attacks.

Publishing June 21 in the journal Nature Biomedical Engineering, the study showed that device-implanted rats withdrew their paws 40 percent more slowly from sudden pain compared with times when their device was turned off.

According to the study authors, this suggests that the device reduced the intensity of the pain the rodents experienced. In addition, animals in sudden or continuous pain spent about two-thirds more time in a chamber where the computer-controlled device was turned on than in a chamber where it was not.

Researchers say the investigation is the first to use a computerized brain implant to detect and relieve bursts of pain in real time. The device is also the first of its kind to target chronic pain, which often occurs without being prompted by a known trigger, the study authors say.

“Our findings show that this implant offers an effective strategy for pain therapy, even in cases where symptoms are traditionally difficult to pinpoint or manage,” says senior study author Jing Wang, MD, Ph.D., the Valentino D.B. Mazzia, MD, JD Associate Professor in the Department of Anesthesiology at NYU Langone Health.

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A $50,000 Helmet Can Read User’s Mind. And It’s Ready

The promise of a leagues-more-affordable technology that anyone can wear and walk around with is, well, mind-bending. 

This helmet measures changes in blood oxygenation levels.

Over the next few weeks, a company called Kernel will begin sending dozens of customers across the U.S. a $50,000 helmet that can, crudely speaking, read their mind. Weighing a couple of pounds each, the helmets contain nests of sensors and other electronics that measure and analyze a brain’s electrical impulses and blood flow at the speed of thought, providing a window into how the organ responds to the world. The basic technology has been around for years, but it’s usually found in room-size machines that can cost millions of dollars and require patients to sit still in a clinical setting.

The promise of a leagues-more-affordable technology that anyone can wear and walk around with is, well, mind-bending. Excited researchers anticipate using the helmets to gain insight into brain aging, mental disorders, concussions, strokes, and the mechanics behind previously metaphysical experiences such as meditation and psychedelic trips. “To make progress on all the fronts that we need to as a society, we have to bring the brain online,” says Bryan Johnson, who’s spent more than five years and raised about $110 million-half of it his own money-to develop the helmets.

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Scientists Just Recorded A Brain Signal Using Quantum Technology

This is the first time a brain signal has been recorded with a modular quantum brain sensor.

By  Derya Ozdemir

Marking a key milestone for quantum brain imaging technology, researchers at the University of Sussex Quantum Systems and Devices laboratory have successfully developed a modular quantum brain scanner and utilized it to capture a brain signal. The researchers say their device is the first to do that using a modular brain scanner, according to a press release.

Modular sensors can be scaled up and connected together “like Lego bricks,” which is why the researchers also linked two sensors, demonstrating that whole-brain scanning, as well as finding potential advances for detecting and delivering treatment to neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s, with this technology might be just around the corner.

The device described in the study — which has been published in pre-print — has achieved something that is presently not achievable using commercially available quantum brain sensors from the U.S. It employs ultra-sensitive quantum sensors to pick up minuscule magnetic fields and map neural activity within the brain.

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Man paralyzed from neck down uses AI brain implants to write out text messages


Read my blips

By Katyanna Quach

A combination of brain implants and a neural network helped a 65-year-old man paralyzed from the neck down type out text messages on a computer at 90 characters per minute, faster than any other known brain-machine interface.

The patient, referred to as T5 in a research paper published [preprint] in Nature on Wednesday, is the first person to test the technology, which was developed by a team of researchers led by America’s Stanford University.

Two widgets were attached to the surface of T5’s brain; the devices featured hundreds of fine electrodes that penetrated about a millimetre into the patient’s gray matter. The test subject was then asked to imagine writing out 572 sentences over the course of three days. These text passages contained all the letters of the alphabet as well as punctuation marks. T5 was asked to represent spaces in between words using the greater than symbol, >.

Signals from the electrodes were then given to a recurrent neural network as input. The model was trained to map each specific reading from T5’s brain to the corresponding character as output. The brain wave patterns recorded from thinking about handwriting the letter ‘a’, for example, were distinct from the ones produced when imagining writing the letter ‘b’. Thus, the software could be trained to associate the signals for ‘a’ with the letter ‘a’, and so on, so that as the patient thought about writing each character in a sentence, the neural net would decode the train of brain signals into the desired characters.

With a data set of 31,472 characters, the machine learning algorithm was able to learn how to decode T5’s brain signals to each character he was trying to write correctly about 94 per cent of the time. The characters were then displayed so he was able to communicate.

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Neuralink Could Implant Chips Into Human Brains ‘Later This Year,’ Says Musk

This video grab made from the online Neuralink livestream shows a drawing of the different steps of the implantation of a Neuralink device seen during a presentation on August 28, 2020 Photo: Neuralink

By Nica Osorio  


KEY POINTS

  • Musk’s Neuralink was founded in 2016
  • Neuralink is a neurotech company developing implantable brain-machine interfaces
  • The company developed a surgical robot a few years a

Billionaire and Tesla CEO Elon Musk mentioned that his brainchild, Neuralink, could implant a chip into a human brain later this year.

Neuralink, a brain-computer-interface company, could soon transition from studying and operating on monkeys to human trials within 2021, according to Musk. In a Twitter conversation following the release of Neuralink’s latest video, a follower reached out to the business magnate in the hope of getting the chance to be one of the subjects of the company’s clinical studies. 

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Wearable ‘Crown’ Boosts Users’ Productivity With Brain Analysis

Neurosity’s ‘Crown’ analyzes brainwaves and plays music to help the wearer stay focused.

By  Chris Young

A pair of engineers have designed a wearable Electroencephalography, or EEG, device called the ‘Crown’ to analyze the activity of the user’s frontal lobe and help them maintain focus and boost productivity with the aid of music.

The device, from Neurosity, measures and analyzes the wearer’s brain waves with the help of eight EEG sensors. 

EEG is one of the most widely used non-invasive techniques for measuring neural activity. The technology essentially records the brain’s electrical activity through electrodes that are placed on the scalp.

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Scientists entered people’s dreams and got them ‘talking’

Researchers analyzed the brain signals and eye and facial movements of people engaged in lucid dreaming “conversations.” 

By Sofia Moutinho

Scientists entered people’s dreams and got them ‘talking’

In the movie Inception, Leonardo DiCaprio enters into other people’s dreams to interact with them and steal secrets from their subconscious. Now, it seems this science fiction plot is one baby step closer to reality. For the first time, researchers have had “conversations” involving novel questions and math problems with lucid dreamers—people who are aware that they are dreaming. The findings, from four labs and 36 participants, suggest people can receive and process complex external information while sleeping.

“This work challenges the foundational definitions of sleep,” says cognitive neuroscientist Benjamin Baird of the University of Wisconsin, Madison, who studies sleep and dreams but was not part of the study. Traditionally, he says, sleep has been defined as a state in which the brain is disconnected and unaware of the outside world.

Lucid dreaming got one of its first mentions in the writings of Greek philosopher Aristotle in the fourth century B.C.E., and scientists have observed it since the 1970s in experiments about the rapid eye movement (REM) phase of sleep, when most dreaming occurs. One in every two people has had at least one lucid dream, about 10% of people experience them once a month or more. Although rare, this ability to recognize you are in a dream—and even control some aspects of it—can be enhanced with training. A few studies have tried to communicate with lucid dreamers using stimuli such as lights, shocks, and sounds to “enter” people’s dreams. But these recorded only minimal responses from the sleepers and did not involve complex transmission of information.

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