How Much Power Does The Human Brain Require To Operate?

Simulating the brain with traditional chips would require impractical megawatts of power. One scientist has an alternative

According to Kwabena Boahen, a computer scientist at Stanford University, a robot with a processor as smart as the human brain would require at least 10 megawatts to operate. That's the amount of energy produced by a small hydroelectric plant. But a small group of computer scientists may have hit on a new neural supercomputer that could someday emulate the human brain's low energy requirements of just 20 watts--barely enough to run a dim light bulb.

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Silk-Silicon Implantable Electronics Conform to Tissues, Then Melt Away

Implantable electronics like pacemakers are old hat, but these kinds of implants are limited by the fact that they must be encased to protect them from the body, and vice versa. But in the quest to make our bodies ever more bionic, researchers have now developed implantable silicon-silk electronics that almost dissolve completely inside the body, leaving behind nanocircuitry that could be used for improved electrical interfaces for nervous system tissues or photonic tattoos that display blood-sugar readouts on the skin’s surface.

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New Solar Cells Adjust Sensitivity According to Latitude

Because solar intensity increases as you get closer to the equator, the same solar cell normally can't be equally effective in any given location. The UK firm Quantasol has devised a way of allowing solar cells to be fine-tuned according to their positional latitude, providing a substantial bump in efficiency.

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Clever Innovations for a Greener Future

Caution to the Wind: The Wind-it’s surrounding tower structure would protect birds from the turbine’s blades.  Courtesy Elioth + Encore Heureux

Hidden Wind

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The Newest Thing in Old Solar Technology Nets Ten Times As Much Energy Per Gram of Silicon

Cheap, off-the-shelf parts and a clever design make Skyline Solar's reflective aluminum troughs a contender in the race to make solar ubiquitous

The next frontier in traditional solar panels is concentrators - devices, usually lenses, that concentrate solar power onto the most expensive part of a solar panel - the silicon. Skyline Solar's "solar trough" design concentrates sunlight without using expensive lenses or complicated robotic armatures for tracking the sun as it crosses the sky.

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Making Silicon from Sand

In a chemical reaction straight out of Harry Potter, you can turn dirt into the building block of every computer

Dept.:Gray Matter
Project: Purifying it
Time: 4 hours
Cost: $40
Dabbler | | | | | Master

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