The boffins built a proof-of-concept memory resistor or memristor turning the honey into a solid form and then held it between two metal electrodes in a similar way to how the brain’s synapses lay between pairs of neurons.
In a press release associate professor of WSU’s School of Engineering and Computer Science, Feng Zhao provided further insight on honey’s potential in the creation of brain-like computer chips, saying:
“This is a very small device with a simple structure, but it has very similar functionalities to a human neuron. This means if we can integrate millions or billions of these honey memristors together, then they can be made into a neuromorphic system that functions much like a human brain.”
Most computers are based on the von Neumann architecture which involves an input such as a keyboard and mouse as well as an output like a monitor along with a CPU and RAM.
But a brain neuron can both process and store data which makes it more efficient than a traditional computer.
Neuromorphic chips, like the honey-based versions created by researchers at Washington State University, can be made using biodegradable materials instead.
Zhao’s team aims to shrink the size of its honey memristors from a microscale that is about the size of a human hair to a nanoscale which is about 1/1000 of a human hair. By doing so, the researchers will be able to bundle millions or even billions of honey memristors together to make a full neuromorphic computing system.