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Bay Area Tech Companies Developing Smart “Bio” Chips That Learn

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PALO ALTO (KCBS) — While it may seem like something from science fiction, technology researchers in the Bay Area are working on a computer chip that is more like the human brain, and learns from its mistakes.

For years, computer scientists have been trying to reverse engineer the human brain in an effort to develop “biological computers.”

“They literally will be taking things we’ve learned for how the brain learns something—or learns from its mistakes, and then put that into circuit,” Larry Smarr, director of the California Institute For Telecommunications and Information Technology, said.

The Institute is just but one of several research centers developing the new computer circuits. Smarr said that they will mimic the way neurons connect to each other in the human brain at hundreds of thousands of different points.

“The research has been going on for decades that’s finally gotten to the point that commercial application of how brains think to hardware computer chips is a reality,” he said.

Practical applications include a chip in a smartphone that could learn and adapt to the user’s speech patterns getting smarter each time they talk.

According to a recent New York Times article, Qualcomm is coming out with a commercial version of these “brain” chips sometime next year.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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