I have been into a boggling paper research on neuromorphic engineering and its implications on robotics applications, lately. It is relatively a less applied field and full of academic papers and difficult to skim easily :)

There are many ongoing projects applying analog or digital circuitry design to implement neurosynaptic simulations of the brain. Consumer oriented products like IBM Synapse and Qualcomm's Zeroth focus on digital hardware whereas academic research like Standford's neurogrid or ETC Zurich's Human Brain Project focus more on actual brain study using analog hardware.

If anybody is following this engineering field, can he/she spread more light on it and explain it's implications, methodologies and toolsets to the community, in detail?

PS : Regarding toolsets, I'm talking about the most feasible engineering methodologies to commit to the field.

  • $\begingroup$ Just as an aside, the Human Brain Project is directed by the EPFL (rather than the ETH Zurich) and is one of the two EU flagship programs (the other being the Graphene project). It is a staggering ten year, one billion euro project comprising 86 European institutions plus a few international ones. You can find out quite a bit from the Wikipedia page or the HBP's own homepage $\endgroup$ – ThomasH Mar 4 '14 at 19:41

Regarding methodologies and tools, I recommend Chris Eliasmith's How to Build a Brain. It presents the Semantic Pointer Architecture (SPA), a cognitive model that has been realized in the open source Nengo toolkit. I have read the book's introduction and some of Eliasmith's papers, and so far the approach looks very promising.

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    $\begingroup$ @SNP I work in Chris Eliasmith's lab and if you have any questions regarding this subject matter, feel free to ask on cogsci.stackexchange.com! For a quicker overview than the book, check out this lecture by Travis Dewolf. $\endgroup$ – Seanny123 Nov 30 '14 at 16:47

Seems like this is a step towards what religious AI people would call a Singualarity. The goal to create a system which would function like the brain. I'am not into this field but I am into Robotics and AI. I can tell you that it's a step towards that dream. No one can say if its possible to do that because of Neuroscience finding weird things about the brain that they can't make sense of and Quantum Science confusing it even further. But what we can say is this, it's a step forward. It's like Quantum Computing in a way. So far in my opinion, Quantum Computing + Neural Model based Hardware + XXXX = Brain. So the implications are that you can develop Robotics to the level of using hardware that will emulate a few functions of the Brain so that we don't have to bang out heads against the table trying to make it learn something and do something. I'd say it's more to do with Automating most of the stuff that we humans are lazy or inefficient or incapable of doing. It will take many Engineering disciplines to come together, sorta like the United Nations. AI, EEE, ECE, Robotics, Neuroscience, Quantum Physics. Umm..I can't think of anymore that will make sense into the addition to make up for this field.


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