New brain cell-like nanodevices work together to identify mutations in viruses

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IMAGE: An electron micrograph of the artificial neuron. The niobium dioxide layer (yellow) endows the device with neuron-like behavior.
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Credit: Dr. R. Stanley Williams

In the September issue of the journal Nature, scientists from Texas A&M University, Hewlett Packard Labs and Stanford University have described a new nanodevice that acts almost identically to a brain cell. Furthermore, they have shown that these synthetic brain cells can be joined together to form intricate networks that can then solve problems in a brain-like manner.

“This is the first study where we have been able to emulate a neuron with just a single nanoscale device, which would otherwise need hundreds of transistors,” said Dr. R. Stanley Williams, senior author on the study and professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. “We have also been able to successfully use networks of our artificial neurons to solve toy versions of a

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