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Scientists create self-sustaining green neuromorphic sensors

Author:QINSUN Released in:2024-03 Click:38

A research team from the University of Massachusetts Amherst has just demonstrated their newly developed electronic microsystem. Its characteristic is the ability to respond intelligently to information input without any external energy input, just like an autonomous organism. In a groundbreaking research paper published in the journal Nature Communications on June 7th, the school team detailed a new electronic device capable of processing ultra-low electronic signals.

It is reported that both key components of this microsystem are made of protein nanowires. As a "green" electronic material, it can be reproduced by microorganisms, thus avoiding the hassle of generating electronic waste.

This study suggests that future green electronic products made from sustainable biomaterials will have enormous potential, and these materials are more likely to interact with the human body or different environments.

Jun Yao, Assistant Professor and Professor of Biomedical Engineering at the Department of Electronic and Computer Engineering (ECE) of the university, and Derek R. Lovley, Distinguished Professor of Microbiology, jointly led everyone to complete this research.

Interested friends can move to the journal Nature Communications to read the full article, originally titled "Self maintained green neuromorphic interfaces". According to the Combat Power Development Command of the US Army Research Laboratory, which funded this research, the research team is committed to creating self-sustaining intelligent microsystems.

Researcher Tian Fu, led by Professor Jun Yao, stated that exploring the feasibility of incorporating live functions into electronic products is an exciting new beginning. At the same time, they are also looking forward to seeing what the further developed version will look like.

Previously, the research team had discovered the ability to generate electricity from the surrounding environment/humidity using protein nanowire based air generators (Air Gen related research published in Nature in 2020). Based on this, such devices can continuously generate electricity in almost all environments on Earth.

In the same year, the laboratory research team led by Professor Jun Yao also reported another technological advancement in Nature Communications, which is that protein nanowires can be used to create electronic devices called "memristors" - supporting simulated brain calculations and processing ultra-low electrical signals that match the amplitude of biological signals.

The good news is that by combining the above two studies, the new microsystem it creates can leverage electrons from Air-Gen and use them to drive sensors and circuits manufactured by protein nanowire memristors.

Now, this electronic microsystem can draw energy from the environment to support sensing and computing without the need for external energy sources such as batteries, and has the same "intelligence" and self-sustaining ability as living organisms. More importantly, the system is also made of environmentally friendly biomaterials (protein nanowires extracted from bacteria).