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Single-walled carbon nanotube and multi-walled carbon nanotube  (Source:
Carbon Nanotubes used to create a synapse circuit

University of Southern California researchers have come one step closer to building a synthetic brain through the invention of a carbon nanotube synapse circuit. 

Professor Alice Parker and Professor Chongwu Zhou, leaders of the study from the University of Southern California Viterbi School of Engineering Ming Hsieh Department of Electrical Engineering, have developed a carbon nanotube synapse circuit that acts like a neuron, and could potentially be used to create a synthetic brain in an effort to better understand brain function.  

Parker and Zhou wanted to use carbon nanotubes specifically because they are exceptionally tiny carbon structures that can be used as semiconductors or metallic conductors in electronic circuits. 

"This is a necessary first step in the process," said Parker. "We wanted to answer the question: Can you build a circuit that would act like a neuron? The next step is even more complex. How can we build structures out of these circuits that mimic the function of the brain, which has 100 billion neurons and 10,000 synapses per neuron?"

While this research is in the beginning stages, the team plans to create a network of analog circuits that act similarly to the human brain's complex connections between neurons. The next step is to increase the plasticity in the circuits in order to make them more life-like and functional like the human brain.  

Parker and Zhou believe the development of a network of analog circuits in a synthetic human brain could lead to prosthetic nanotechnology that would aid in the treatment of brain injuries. It could also lead to new auto technology that would protect drivers in a whole new way.

A complete synthetic brain or a functional brain area will not be completed for decades, according to Parker. The brain's complex processes such as producing neurons and making connections will be difficult to reproduce, but this research is a crucial first step in that direction. 

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RE: The creationists will now cry, foul!
By Wiggy Mcshades on 4/25/2011 7:18:56 PM , Rating: 1
The nastiness is just paying it forward for all of the hatred religious groups have showered upon modern society. It's repayment for the literal reversal of technological progress for 500 years of human history. It's for all of the people who were lynched by good Christians. It's for all of the people who were ostracized in the past for daring to rely on themselves rather than one book written by other humans. It's for every kid who sat in a religious education class and had to listen to a teacher try to explain why someone's sexuality can actually be wrong. It's for taking away, from every person who believes, the unending potential that every human is born with. Your beliefs have and will continue to harm numerous people and you chose to stay ignorant to it, tell me why I should be friendly?

By Alexvrb on 4/25/2011 9:59:24 PM , Rating: 2
Your post and Marty's are both delightfully ironic. Ever heard of leading by example? Ever thought that your vitriolic speech makes you look just as bad? I didn't see religious zealots bringing this stuff up, he started in on them without any evidence or prompting.

Sounds like non-religious humans are just as bad as the rest. Even without religion, human nature remains the same.

By ekv on 4/25/2011 10:04:27 PM , Rating: 2
tell me why I should be friendly?
So exactly the thing you accuse others of, whom you claim to know but do not, you admit to being guilty of.


By c4xp on 4/26/2011 4:27:20 AM , Rating: 2
Being or not being friendly is a conscious thought.

God gave us the power of choice and when you think about it, when we will create artificial intelligence, we actually forward that power of choice to the machines we are creating.

That is the miracle of creation.
To blame the religious groups for everything bad that's ever happend to us as a species is like blaming a kid for being mean with animals. He simply doesn't know better.

But you do!

"A politician stumbles over himself... Then they pick it out. They edit it. He runs the clip, and then he makes a funny face, and the whole audience has a Pavlovian response." -- Joe Scarborough on John Stewart over Jim Cramer

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