UCF researchers develop device that mimics brain cells used for human vision

ORLANDO, Feb. 14, 2020 -University of Central Florida researchers are assisting to close the space separating human and maker minds.

In a research study included as the cover post appearing today in the journal Science Advances, a UCF research study group revealed that by integrating 2 appealing nanomaterials into a brand-new superstructure, they might produce a nanoscale device that mimics the neural paths of brain cells used for human vision.

“This is a baby step toward developing neuromorphic computers, which are computer processors that can simultaneously process and memorize information,” stated Jayan Thomas, an associate teacher in UCF’s NanoScience Technology Center and Department of Materials Science and Engineering. “This can reduce the processing time as well as the energy required for processing. At some time in the future, this invention may help to make robots that can think like humans.”

Thomas led the research study in cooperation with Tania Roy, an assistant teacher in UCF’s NanoScience Technology Center, and others at UCF’s NanoScience Technology Center and the Department of Materials Science and Engineering.

Roy stated a possible usage for the technology is for drone-assisted saves.

“Imagine a drone that can fly without guidance to remote mountain sites and locate stranded mountaineers,” Roy stated. “Today it is difficult since these drones need connectivity to remote servers to identify what they scan with their camera eye. Our device makes this drone truly autonomous because it can see just like a human.”

“Earlier research created a camera which captured the image and sent it to a server to be recognized, but our group created a single device that mimics the eye and the brain function together,” she stated. “Our device can observe the image and recognize it on the spot.”

The technique to the development was growing nanoscale, light-sensitive perovskite quantum dots on the two-dimensional, atomic thick nanomaterial graphene. This mix permits the photoactive particles to catch light, transform it to electrical charges and after that have the charges straight moved to the graphene, all in one action. The whole procedure occurs on an incredibly thin movie, about one-ten thousandths of the density of a human hair.

Basudev Pradhan, who was a Bhaskara Advanced Solar Energy fellow in Thomas’ laboratory and is presently an assistant teacher in the Department of Energy Engineering at the Central University of Jharkhand in India, and Sonali Das, a postdoctoral fellow in Roy’s laboratory, are shared very first authors of the research study.

“Because of the nature of the superstructure, it shows a light-assisted memory effect,” Pradhan stated. “This is similar to humans’ vision-related brain cells. The optoelectronic synapses we developed are highly relevant for brain-inspired, neuromorphic computing. This kind of superstructure will definitely lead to new directions in development of ultrathin optoelectronic devices.”

Das stated there are likewise prospective defense applications.

“Such features can also be used for aiding the vision of soldiers on the battlefield,” she stated. “Further, our device can sense, detect and reconstruct an image along with extremely low power consumption, which makes it capable for long-term deployment in field applications.”

Neuromorphic computing is an enduring objective of researchers in which computer systems can all at once process and save info, like the human brain does, for example, to permit vision. Presently, computer systems shop and procedure info in different locations, which eventually restricts their efficiency.

To evaluate their device’s capability to see items through neuromorphic computing, the researchers used it in facial acknowledgment experiments, Thomas stated.

“The facial recognition experiment was a preliminary test to check our optoelectronic neuromorphic computing,” Thomas stated. “Since our device mimics vision-related brain cells, facial recognition is one of the most important tests for our neuromorphic building block.”

They discovered that their device had the ability to effectively acknowledge the pictures of 4 various individuals.

The researchers stated they prepare to continue their cooperation to fine-tune the device, consisting of utilizing it to develop a circuit-level system.


Study co-authors were Jinxin Li, Farzana Chowdhury, Jayesh Cherusseri, Deepak Pandey, Durjoy Dev, Adithi Krishnaprasad, Elizabeth Barrios, Andrew Towers, Andre Gesquiere, and Laurene Tetard.

Thomas signed up with UCF in 2011 and belongs of the NanoScience Technology Center with a joint visit in the College of Optics and Photonics and the Department of Materials Science and Engineering in the College of Engineering. Formerly, Thomas was at the University of Arizona in its College of Optical Sciences. He has a number of degrees consisting of a doctorate in chemistry/materials science from Cochin University of Science and Technology in India.

Roy signed up with UCF in 2016 and belongs of the NanoScience Technology Center with a joint visit in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and the Department of Physics. Her current National Science Foundation CAREER award concentrates on the advancement of gadgets for expert system applications. Roy was a postdoctoral scholar at the University of California, Berkeley prior to signing up with UCF. She got her doctorate in electrical engineering from Vanderbilt University.

CONTACT: Robert H. Wells, Office of Research, 407-823-0861, [email protected]

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