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A revolutionary discovery: Scientists create a device that simulates brain functions using only salt and water

A revolutionary discovery: Scientists create a device that simulates brain functions using only salt and water

Researchers from Utrecht University in the Netherlands and Sogang University in South Korea have made a revolutionary discovery by creating a device that mimics the neural functions of the human brain, using water and salt as the main ingredients. This achievement represents a major shift in the field of artificial intelligence and neural computing.

For many years, the goal of science has been to reproduce the complex functions of the human brain in artificial devices. However, most attempts have focused on techniques far removed from biology, resulting in computers based on traditional methods, which, although powerful, consume a significant amount of energy compared to the human brain. Now, with this new device, science is turning to nature in search of more efficient and sustainable solutions.

The device, called an ion memristor, is the result of a collaboration between theoretical and experimental physicists. Its dimensions are only 150 x 200 micrometers, equivalent to the width of three or four human hairs. According to information from Gazeta Brasil, the design of the device, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), is inspired by the cerebral synapse, the basic component of the brain responsible for transmitting signals between neurons. It is noteworthy that this ionic meristor works using water and salt, the same elements that make up the internal environment of the brain.

The operation of the device is based on a small conical channel filled with a solution of water and salt. When it receives electrical pulses, ions in the fluid move through the channel, changing the ion concentration and adjusting the conductivity of the channel. This process mimics the strengthening or weakening of connections between neurons, thus replicating the synaptic plasticity of the human brain.

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The development of this device was possible thanks to a combination of theory and experimentation. Professor Tim Kamsma, from the Institute of Theoretical Physics and the Institute of Mathematics at Utrecht University, developed the theory that served as the basis for the creation of the ionic meristor. His idea was chosen by a research group in South Korea, which carried out the experimental work necessary to turn the idea into a functional device. “The ability to adapt channels to retain and process information for different periods of time is similar to the synaptic mechanisms observed in our brain,” explains Kamsma.

What is surprising about this discovery is how quickly the theory became practical. In just three months, the researchers were able to develop a device that matches Professor Kamsma’s theoretical expectations.

This advance is a crucial step toward creating computers that not only mimic the communication patterns of the human brain, but also use the same medium. The researchers believe that this approach could lead to significantly more efficient computing systems in terms of energy consumption and processing power. Furthermore, ionic memristors could have applications in a wide range of fields, from artificial intelligence to neuroscience and medicine. For example, it could be used to develop more advanced neural prosthetics, capable of communicating more naturally with the human brain. It could also open up new possibilities in quantum computing, where energy efficiency is a crucial factor in realizing its potential.

“Who knows, this may eventually pave the way for computing systems that more faithfully reproduce the extraordinary capabilities of the human brain,” Kamsma said.

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