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Radical new 'memristors' work like neurons and could give robots a mind of their own

A radical new type of 'neurochip' that works like the human brain has been revealed by Russian scientists.
They have created a neural network using the technology, and say it could lead to radical new types of computer.
It could dramatically improve machine vision, hearing, and other sensory organs, and even give robots a mind of their own.

Scientists from the Kurchatov Institute, MIPT, the University of Parma (Italy), Moscow State University, and Saint Petersburg State University worked together on the breakthrough.
They created a neural network based on polymeric memristors - devices that can potentially be used to build fundamentally new computers.

A memristor is an electric element similar to a conventional resistor.

The difference between a memristor and a traditional element is that the electric resistance in a memristor is dependent on the charge passing through it, therefore it constantly changes its properties under the influence of an external signal: a memristor has a memory and at the same time is also able to change data encoded by its resistance state.

'In this sense, a memristor is similar to a synapse - a connection between two neurons in the brain that is able, with a high level of plasticity, to modify the efficiency of signal transmission between neurons under the influence of the transmission itself,' the researchers say.

A memristor enables scientists to build a 'true' neural network, and the physical properties of memristors mean that at the very minimum they can be made as small as conventional chips.

Some estimates indicate that the size of a memristor can be reduced up to ten nanometers, and the technologies used in the manufacture of the experimental prototypes could, in theory, be scaled up to the level of mass production.

'However, as this is 'in theory', it does not mean that chips of a fundamentally new structure with neural networks will be available on the market any time soon, even in the next five years,' the teams say. 

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Киберпанк – это не просто жанр научной фантастики, появившийся в 80-х годах 20 века. Киберпанк – это феномен, оказавший влияние на всю социокультурную среду. Это одновременно страх и влечение перед развитием искусственного интеллекта, глобальных информационных сетей, виртуальной реальности, биотехнологий. Это и протест против бездушного бизнеса с его мегакорпорациями, против технологического прогресса, где человеку, с его чувствами и слабостями, отводится второстепенное значение. Cyberpunk – это грань, где соприкасаются жестокое будущее и человеческие инстинкты.
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