UT professor trying to replicate the brain with a smart phone chip

TOLEDO, OH (Toledo News Now) - For the last four years, University of Toledo associate professor Dr. Rashmi Jha has been working on a computer chip geared to replicate the brain and help those with disabilities.

Dr. Jha works in the electrical engineering and computer science department at UT. She and several of her students have been developing a computer chip that can learn, evolve and make decisions like the human brain.

"For example, if (the chip) is able to understand what I have bought during the week, then instead of me spending time thinking what should I cook or how should I organize everything, it works as a personal assistant," said Dr. Jha.

The whole process is called nanoelectronic memory.  While scientists are unable to completely replicate the human brain, Dr. Jha says the chip has been tested and is able to mimic certain functionalities.

"The challenge for us is to really integrate these devices where you have data coming from different areas," she said.

Dr. Jha says the new technology will assist those with disabilities, including those with memory loss.

"Sometimes they go somewhere and get lost," she explained.  "In that type of a situation, a smart phone is there to assist them in getting back."

Dr. Jha says in the last few years, many of the advancements to smart phones have been cosmetic, and now new innovation is wanted and needed.

"Our objective is to really integrate it in the circuit to get more components and to get more robust functionalities, like facial recognition," she said.

A $442,000 grant from the National Science Foundation has funded this research.

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