New Light-Powered AI Chip Tries to Mimic Human Brain
Researchers at RMIT University have developed a new kind of artificial intelligence technology that works by imitating the way a human brain processes visual information. It promises to bring together imaging, processing, machine learning, and memory in one single electronic chip powered by light. This nanoscale advancement links the core software needed to drive artificial intelligence with image-capturing hardware in a single electronic device.
This light-driven prototype could empower smarter and smaller autonomous technologies like drones and robotics, plus smart wearables and bionic implants like artificial retinas. The study, from an international team of researchers led by RMIT University, is published in the journal Advanced Materials recently.
Our new technology radically boosts efficiency and accuracy by bringing multiple components and functionalities into a single platform,
Walia, who also co-leads the Functional Materials and Microsystems Research Group, said. He also added,
Our aim is to replicate a core feature of how the brain learns, through imprinting vision as memory. The prototype we’ve developed is a major leap forward towards neurorobotics, better technologies for human-machine interaction, and scalable bionic systems.
The prototype is inspired by optogenetics. It is an emerging tool in biotechnology that allows scientists to examine the body’s electrical system with great precision and use light to manipulate neurons. The AI chip is based on an ultra-thin black phosphorous, that changes electrical resistance in response to different wavelengths of light.
Typically artificial intelligence relies heavily on software and off-site data processing, but the new prototype aims to change that by integrating electronic hardware and intelligence together. The best analogy to describe it would be of a dashcam in a car that’s integrated with such neuro-inspired hardware which can recognize lights, signs, objects and make instant decisions, without having to connect to the internet.
This new chip can now capture and automatically enhance images, classify numbers, and be trained to recognize patterns and images with an accuracy rate of over 90%. The device is also compatible with existing electronics and silicon technologies, for effortless future integration.
The different functionalities such as imaging or memory storage are obtained by shining different colors of light on the chip.
By packing so much core functionality into one compact nanoscale device, we can broaden the horizons for machine learning and AI to be integrated into smaller applications,
Using our chip with artificial retinas, for example, would enable scientists to miniaturize that emerging technology and improve the accuracy of the bionic eye. Our prototype is a significant advance towards the ultimate in electronics: a brain-on-a-chip that can learn from its environment just like we do.
More information about this new technology can be found in this article published in Advanced Materials.