Sean Cate
Sean Cate
April 7, 2024 ·  2 min read

Scientists Accidentally Discovered New Material That Can ‘Remember’ Like a Brain

Scientists from École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland have accidentally discovered a new material that can ‘remember’ like a brain. The discovery of this material could have significant implications for the development of new types of computers and artificial intelligence that can more closely mimic the capabilities of the human brain.

A Material that can “Remember.”

The new material is made from vanadium dioxide, a compound that has already been extensively studied for its unique properties. However, the EPFL team discovered that when vanadium dioxide is used to create tiny electrical circuits, it exhibits a remarkable ability to “remember” past events, similar to the way the human brain operates1.

The researchers found that the material can retain a state of electrical conductivity even after the current has been switched off. This means that the material can effectively “remember” its electrical state before, which is a crucial characteristic for developing advanced computing systems that can adapt and learn like the human brain.

Potential Applications

The discovery of this material has significant implications for developing new types of computing systems and artificial intelligence2. The material’s ability to remember past events could be used to create more advanced and efficient memory systems for computers, making it possible for computers to store and retrieve information more like the human brain does.

In addition, the material could also be used to create new types of sensors and other electronic devices that can more accurately mimic the behavior of biological systems. This could lead to the development of more advanced prosthetics and other medical devices that can more closely integrate with the human body.

Accidental Discovery

The discovery of this new material was entirely accidental. The EPFL researchers were actually working on a different project when they stumbled upon this remarkable property of vanadium dioxide.

According to the team, the discovery was made when they were studying phase transitions from vanadium dioxide. They noticed that the material exhibited unexpected behaviour when the current was switched off, leading them to investigate further and discover its memory-like properties.

The accidental discovery of this new material is a significant breakthrough in the development of advanced computing and artificial intelligence systems. The material’s ability to remember past events is a crucial characteristic for developing systems that can learn and adapt like the human brain.

While there is still much research to be done to fully understand the material’s properties, the discovery could have significant implications for a wide range of fields, from computing and electronics to medicine and biotechnology.

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    1. “Scientists accidentally discover a material that can ‘remember’ like a brain” The Independent. August 23, 2022.
    2. “Researchers have discovered a material that can ‘remember’ like a human” Interesting Engineering. August 22, 2022.