back to article Boffins build JELL-O memory for your brain

A team of US researchers has fashioned a memory circuit that may provide an electronic bridge between man and machine. "Our memory device is soft and pliable, and functions extremely well in wet environments – similar to the human brain," one of the researchers, Michael Dickey, said when announcing the breakthrough. To …

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  1. alphaxion

    title

    Paging Dr Cyborg.. time to prove your resolve beyond those pithy rfid chips in your arm. Get some of these in yer noggin!

    1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Happy

      @alphaxion

      Ah.

      Upgrades.

    2. Bill Neal
      Joke

      title

      Good work Dickey! You've made it all wet and squishy, but will it mount?

  2. garetht t

    NSFW

    Could you mebbe label that last link NSFW, for people who aren't already mistrustful enough of the interwebs to check the link before they click?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Angel

      What? A harmless page of text...

      ...about an award-winning director?

  3. Stumpy
    Joke

    At last ...

    Maybe I can perform courier duties without having to dump chunks of long term memory ...

  4. Ralthor
    Alien

    At last....

    .... the first step towards affinity.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Couldn't they use this

    as a cover for regular electronics? Just have wires (or whatever connection methods are currently used in neural interfaces) leading into a block of this Jell-o stuff and embed the 'conventional' electronics inside it.

  6. Graham Marsden
    Facepalm

    "where they could preform any number of different roles"

    So a sort of Factotum, then...?

  7. nyelvmark
    Thumb Down

    Oh god, the stupid brain/computer mis-analogy again.

    I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Terminator

    Encyclopaedia Britannica?

    Who uses that anymore? I want Wikipedia in my brain.

    1. Ru

      Never was a future so horrifying

      evisaged by PKD or WG.

  9. Arkasha

    title

    Won't the body see this as a foreign body and attack it?

    1. LaeMing Silver badge
      Boffin

      Yes and no

      This particular mix of chemicals, they believe so.

      There may be others the body thinks of as neutral (eg, you don't need immuno-suppressants to keep an artificial hip joint in, or numerous other artificial replacement parts).

      In fact, an issue with current artificial parts is the body's tendencies to ignore them! The effort going into making coatings that body tissue will actually join itself to is also a quite big area of research - that titanium hip joint would be 10x better if the remaining bone tissue would grow into it instead of it all having to be held together with pins!

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Gimp

    Rise of the Machines

    I can see the advantages of a "Mimetic Polyalloy" neural interface.

    The main headache (pun INTENDED!) is that as Arkasha says the water based gel may be recognised as foreign.

    Has anyone done any studies into the long term effects of gallium/indium alloys in the human body? I vaguely recall reading that gallium was studied as an alternative to toxic mercury in dental amalgams as it can be handled safely.

    Maybe the problem here was the expense of gallium?

    This is amazing work, Ga-In polymer based memristors might be cheaper to manufacture than inorganic ones and substantially higher density as the polymer can be laid down in much the same way as an OLED with a more or less conventional inkjet print head.

  11. annodomini2
    Joke

    Hmmm....

    Where do I get my Jelly mold hat?

  12. Squawkyboy

    Gibson

    Maybe Microsoft should invest. Then we'd get Microsoft microsofts. On the other hand maybe I don't want my brain blue screening!

  13. JadedIdealist

    Star Trek Gel Packs

    Did anyone else immediatly think of Star Trek (voyager only?) Gel Packs?

    1. Ru
      Terminator

      You culturally bankrupt youngsters

      I thought of biosofts, and even they are relative newcomers on the scene.

      Go read you some classics.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Pint

      Yes

      I remember thinking WTFThisIsRidiculous when they went on about Gel Packs on Voyager. Turns out they were right all along.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Joke

    hmm...

    Is that what they tried on amanfrommars?

  15. Mike Richards Silver badge

    Bah - Jell-O

    In Britain we'd have used custard.

    Possibly with a layer of jelly and sponge biscuits for the substrate. Soaked in cheap alcohol to mimic the natural state of a British brain.

    1. Andy Farley

      Come on

      these things aren't to be trifled with.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    Moddies and daddies?

    Now if they can just get working on something along the lines of George Alec Effinger's plug ins from "When Gravity Fails" I might understand .net enough to save my job!

    Mines the black leather one with mirrorshades in the pocket.

  17. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Unhappy

    Expensive and possibly a bit toxic

    My prices for Gallium were $3/g and In at $3-5/g That's *gram* not kilogram. Granted they are pretty old (and these things are fairly light) but I'd guess this will be a bit expensive.

    Indium *seems* fairly human friendly but I think Gallium is a bit more suspect (although much less so than that other element of GaAs Arsenic).

    Deity knows I'd love to just plug assorted knowledge into my head on demand (provided of course you could pull it out later).

    All of which misses *the* big question.

    *How* does the human brain encode information? You can attach electrodes to the nerves from the ear and the eye and look at the result on an oscilloscope or through a speaker.

    It doesn't look like a picture and it *definitely* does not sound like sound.

    So until you solve that little problem (along with how to trigger memory recall, and encode the information on your implant in such a way that it can be *understood* by your brain) this will solve nothing.

    *That* problem seems as far away from being solved as ever.

  18. Craig 28

    On the other hand...

    How rugged is this? Maybe it could be used in the future as an alternative to flash memory and other solid-state systems but it would be much more appealing if it was able to stand much more shaking about than the existing options.

  19. Rombizio

    In Science we trust

    "Science Fiction is Science that hasn't happen yet."

    - Rombizio

  20. alwarming
    Paris Hilton

    Surprisingly no HP mention here ?

    Didn't they like "discover" the memristor ?

    Paris, coz she likes jell-o.

  21. andre 2
    Linux

    Gallium

    Isn't that expensive, I paid around £10 for 10 grams a year ago.

    It IS messy stuff, gets everywhere. I found the best way to avoid this is to always handle it with gloves, and put it in a glass container.

    The small amount of Ga-In I had left after my last experiment went awry went in said glass container and there is still about 0.3 grams left which is enough for dozens of experiments.

    It also forms a nice alloy with copper while leaving the underlying surface intact so you can use a piece of protoboard of the solid tracks variety to make a duplicate of this experiment.

    Silicone is best bought in the "acetoxy" variety as it doesen't contain acetic acid which would muck up the reaction. Its also probably not going to work without that special polymer, but Borax could work as a sub for the acid side at least and its easy to get hold of.

    Some folks are making DIY ultracapacitors that last years so DIY memristors should be doable with some effort though you still have to refresh them as the "half life" is about 3 hours.

    Simple timer and "copy location block A to location block B" should suffice, and you too can have your very own DIY megabyte sized memory that takes up about the same space as an Ipad2.

    -Andre

  22. sT0rNG b4R3 duRiD
    Terminator

    Hahaha, can anyone say...

    ...neural lace?

    I for one await the coming of our benovolent AI overlords.

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