Nanowire networks (Nano Net) can exhibit both short- and long- term memory, like the human brain. This new finding is coming from a team of experts led by Dr. Alon Loeffler of the Univ. of Sydney. Dr. Alon Loeffler who got his PhD in the School of Physics conducted the study. The study is currently online in the journal Science Advances. However, a group of Japanese experts were also part of the team. For simplicity, we will use “Nano Net” to represent Nanowire Network” in most parts of the article
About the work, Dr Loeffler said
“In this research, we found higher – order cognitive function, which we normally associate with the human brain, can be emulated in non – biological hardware. This work builds on our previous research in which we showed how nanotechnology could be used to build a brain – inspired electrical device with neural network – like circuitry and synapse – like signaling. Our current work paves the way towards replicating brain – like learning and memory in non-biological hardware systems and suggests that the underlying nature of brain – like intelligence may be physical.”
Nano Nets are a subset of nano tech that often arise from thinly spaced, highly conductive, unseen to the naked eye, micro silver wires that are wrapped in a plastic material. Aspects of the networked physical structure of the human brain are modelled by the wires. Numerous practical applications, such as upgrading robots or sensing systems that must make quick decisions in random settings, could be ushered in by advances in Nano Nets.
A senior author, Prof. Zdenka Kuncic, from the School of Physics, said
“This nano wire network is like a synthetic neural network because the nano wires act like neurons, and the places where they connect with each other are analogous to synapses…Instead of implementing some kind of machine learning task, in this study, Dr. Loeffler has actually taken it one step further and tried to demonstrate that nanowire networks exhibit some kind of cognitive function.”
Nanowire network matches the average human capacity
The N-Back task, a common memory test used in studies on human psychology, was used by the team to examine the capacity of the Nano Net. For a person, the N-Back task might entail the recall of an exact image of a cat from a sequence of feline images. A person might know the same picture that came seven steps back if they have an N-Back score of 7. This is the average for people. The research team found that when applied to the Nano Net, it could ‘remember’ a desired endpoint in an electric circuit seven steps back. This means that it has a score of 7 on an N-Back test, just like a n average human.
Dr. Loeffler continues
“What we did here is manipulate the voltages of the end electrodes to force the pathways to change, rather than letting the network just do its own thing. We forced the pathways to go where we wanted them to go…When we implement that, its memory had much higher accuracy and didn’t really decrease over time, suggesting that we’ve found a way to strengthen the pathways to push them towards where we want them, and then the network remembers it. Neuroscientists think this is how the brain works, certain synaptic connections strengthen while others weaken, and that’s thought to be how we preferentially remember some things, how we learn and so on.”
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According to the team, the Nano Net may store info in memory. This is possible to the point where it no longer needs renewal because it has been unified.
Prof. Kuncic adds
“It’s kind of like the difference between long-term memory and short-term memory in our brains…If we want to remember something for a long period of time, we really need to keep training our brains to consolidate that, otherwise it just kind of fades away over time. One task showed that the nano wire network can store up to seven items in memory at substantially higher than chance levels without reinforcement training and near – perfect accuracy with reinforcement training.”
Nano wire tech – a new trend
One use of nano technology is the creation of linked Nano Nets. Nano wires are very thin wires with sizes around a few nm and a few micrometres. Nano wires have many unique qualities. Some of these qualities are a high surface-to-volume ratio, unusual electrical conductivity, and biocompatibility. For these reasons, they have drawn a lot of attention in recent years.
One of the main use of this new tech is in the field of electronics. This network can be used to create a really compact device with high output and low power usage. The high surface – to – volume ratio of nano wires is another key feature. It allows for a large number of active elements to be packed into a small area. This makes them ideal for creating integrated circuits with high – density parts. This tech also enables the creation of high tech devices with its better conduction prowess.
The nano wire tech is also very useful in the field of energy storage. The large surface area of nano wires enables them to store more energy per unit volume. Also, their high electrical conductivity enables faster charging and discharging times. This makes it ideal for portable devices and in any device that needs a fast charge or high – energy density.
Even in the field of biotech, nano wires are also needed. They are useful for medical diagnosis and research. This is due to the fact that they can be used to detect and monitor biomolecules. Also, this tech can also be used in the field of photonics. The high surface area of nano wires enables them to interact with light in unique ways. This makes them ideal for creating optical devices such as photodetectors, solar cells, and light – emitting diodes (LEDs).
Nano Nets are a future tech with a wide range of potential users. There is also a wide range of scenarios in which it can be put to good use. Experts continue to explore the potential uses of Nano Nets. It is likely that they will become more important in a wide range of fields. In a few years, we expect that this tech will expand to more fields. At the moment, more brands and industry experts are expanding their focus on this tech.