Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Biologically Inspired Electronics Leads To Higher Fidelity

Date:
September 7, 1999
Source:
Boston University
Summary:
Realizing the extraordinary ability of the neuronal networks of the brain to separate signal from noise led a group of researchers at Boston University's Center for BioDynamics (CBD) and Department of Biomedical Engineering to develop a biologically inspired model that would improve the fidelity of electronic devices.

Boston University researchers base noise-shaping technology on neuronal networks

(Boston, Mass.) - The human brain is the most elegant of receivers. It can discern the notes of a piccolo from amongst the multitude of tones in a symphony orchestra and identify the familiar outlines of a friend in the midst of a crowd of strangers.

Realizing this extraordinary ability of the neuronal networks of the brain to separate signal from noise led a group of researchers at Boston University's Center for BioDynamics (CBD) and Department of Biomedical Engineering to develop a biologically inspired model that would improve the fidelity of electronic devices. The work was supported by a research gift from Ray Stata, chairman of Analog Devices and conducted in collaboration with Carson Chow (University of Pittsburgh), Wulfram Gerstner (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology), and Robert W. Adams, (manager of audio development at Analog Devices, Inc. of Norwood, Mass.), who first suggested the concept. It is reported in the August 31 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Spectral noise-shaping, a process by which engineers improve the signal-to-noise ratio in electronic systems, is used in audio applications such as digital telephones, theater sound systems, and CD players. Traditional noise-shaping relies upon digital averaging techniques that are effective only in a narrow range of frequencies.

The techniques developed by Douglas Mar, James Collins, and their colleagues have significant advantages in that they can be effective over a much wider bandwidth, and can tolerate a greater amount of variation in the system components. The system is based on large networks of interconnected circuits, similar to neuronal networks in the brain. It is known that neurons fire in an often noisy and irregular pattern in the brain. Also, neurons often fire slowly in comparison to many of the signals they need to encode - a pitched baseball, for example, is in the "hitting zone" for only a few milliseconds, whereas individual neurons often take ten milliseconds or more between firings. Despite this discrepancy in timing, major leaguers such as Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa hit home runs regularly.

The researchers hypothesized that a more efficient flow of information is effected in neuronal networks by inhibitory coupling - a process through which activation of one neuron momentarily suppresses the level of activity in other neurons in the network. Inhibitory coupling reduces the clumping of information, avoiding information traffic jams that both make it difficult to "see" the information of interest and slow down the system. By connecting elements in this way the researchers were able to similarly smooth the flow of information and identify and shift the noise, or unwanted information, from the bandwidth of interest to higher frequencies where it can be filtered out.

The next step, according to Mar, is to take the theoretical results of this investigation and begin to apply it in actual devices to bring higher fidelity into a new generation of biologically inspired electronics.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Boston University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Boston University. "Biologically Inspired Electronics Leads To Higher Fidelity." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 September 1999. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/09/990907072721.htm>.
Boston University. (1999, September 7). Biologically Inspired Electronics Leads To Higher Fidelity. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/09/990907072721.htm
Boston University. "Biologically Inspired Electronics Leads To Higher Fidelity." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/09/990907072721.htm (accessed October 22, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Thanks, Marty McFly! Hoverboards Could Be Coming In 2015

Thanks, Marty McFly! Hoverboards Could Be Coming In 2015

Newsy (Oct. 21, 2014) — If you've ever watched "Back to the Future Part II" and wanted to get your hands on a hoverboard, well, you might soon be in luck. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Robots to Fly Planes Where Humans Can't

Robots to Fly Planes Where Humans Can't

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 21, 2014) — Researchers in South Korea are developing a robotic pilot that could potentially replace humans in the cockpit. Unlike drones and autopilot programs which are configured for specific aircraft, the robots' humanoid design will allow it to fly any type of plane with no additional sensors. Ben Gruber reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Graphene Paint Offers Rust-Free Future

Graphene Paint Offers Rust-Free Future

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 21, 2014) — British scientists have developed a prototype graphene paint that can make coatings which are resistant to liquids, gases, and chemicals. The team says the paint could have a variety of uses, from stopping ships rusting to keeping food fresher for longer. Jim Drury reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
China Airlines Swanky New Plane

China Airlines Swanky New Plane

Buzz60 (Oct. 21, 2014) — China Airlines debuted their new Boeing 777, and it's more like a swanky hotel bar than an airplane. Enjoy high-tea, a coffee bar, and a full service bar with cocktails and spirits, and lie-flat in your reclining seats. Sean Dowling (@SeanDowlingTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins