Brain-inspired memory device for wearable electronics

Seoul: Researchers have developed a new memory device for wearable devices like smart watches or phones which is inspired by the neuron connections of the human brain.

The device boasts of highly reliable performance, long retention time and endurance.

Moreover, its stretchability and flexibility makes it a promising tool for the next-generation soft electronics attached to clothes or body, the researchers noted.

The information we memorise is transmitted through synapses from one neuron to the next as an electro-chemical signal.

Inspired by these connections, scientists from South Korea-based Institute for Basic Science (IBS) constructed a memory called two-terminal tunnelling random access memory (TRAM), where two electrodes resemble the two communicating neurons of the synapse.

While mobile electronics like digital cameras and mobile phones use the so-called three-terminal flash memory, the advantage of two-terminal memories like TRAM is that two-terminal memories do not need a thick and rigid oxide layer.

“Flash memory is still more reliable and has better performance, but TRAM is more flexible and can be scalable,” explained Professor Yu Woo Jong in a statement.

In collaboration with Sungkyunkwan University, researchers from the Centre for Integrated Nanostructure Physics at IBS devised this memory device.

Flexibility and stretchability are indeed two key features of TRAM.

In the future, TRAM can be useful to save data from flexible or wearable smartphones, eye cameras, smart surgical gloves and body-attachable biomedical devices.