Chameleon-Like Material Could Mimic Brain Cells

By imitating the way the human brain solves everyday problems, neuromorphic systems could revolutionize big data analysis and pattern recognition problems that can be a challenge for current digital technologies. For artificial systems to be more brain-like, however, they need to replicate how nerve cells communicate at their synapses. Researchers at Texas A&M University  say a new material captures the pattern of electrical activity at the synapse. The researchers say their material oscillates from metal to insulator at a transition temperature decided by the device’s thermal history, and that adding small quantities of the element boron to vanadium dioxide makes the material function like a synapse. While this system is an initial step in mimicking a biological synapse, experiments are currently underway to introduce more dynamism in the material’s behavior.