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MIT replicates the brain's neural connectivity with new silicon synapse

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Researchers at MIT have created a new chip that can accurately recreate the behavior of a synapse in the human brain.

MIT's "brain chip"
MIT's "brain chip"

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have made a huge leap forward with a new chip that mimics the way the neurons of the brain interact with one another. While previous studies had been able to model the basic firing of a synapse — the interconnect between neurons — the real brain is vastly more nuanced. MIT's version uses 400 transistors to recreate not just the firing, but all of the intracellular activity between neurons as well, for a level of biological realism never seen before. The new chip recreates just one of the hundreds of trillions of synapses in the brain, so the road ahead is long, but the team already plans to use it to build models of the brain’s visual system next. The further implications have us even more excited: they see the chip eventually being used as a building block for artificial intelligence systems, and as part of neural implants that could communicate directly with the brain itself.