Researchers develop device that mimics brain cells used for human vision

Schematic showing the growth of PQDs on graphene to form the G-PQD superstructure and the proposed applications.
University of Central Florida researchers are helping to close the gap separating human and machine minds.
In a study featured as the cover article appearing today in the journal Science Advances, a UCF research team showed that by combining two promising nanomaterials into a new superstructure, they could create a nanoscale device that mimics the neural pathways of brain cells used for human vision.
“This is a baby step toward developing neuromorphic computers, which are computer processors that can simultaneously process and memorize information,” said Jayan Thomas, an associate professor in UCF’s NanoScience Technology Center and Department of Materials Science and Engineering. “This can reduce the processing time as well as the energy required for processing. At some time in the future, this invention may help to make robots that can think like humans.”
Thomas led the research in collaboration with Tania Roy, an assistant professor in UCF’s NanoScience Technology Center, and others at UCF’s NanoScience Technology Center and the Department of Materials Science and Engineering.
Roy said a potential use for the technology is for drone-assisted rescues.
“Imagine a drone that can fly without guidance to remote mountain sites and locate stranded mountaineers,” Roy said. “Today it is difficult since these drones need connectivity to remote servers to identify what they scan with their camera eye. Our device makes this drone truly autonomous because it can see just like a human.”
“Earlier research created a camera which captured the image and sent it to a server to be recognized, but our group created a single device that mimics the eye and the brain function together,” she said. “Our device can observe the image and recognize it on the spot.”
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