NewsComputer chips of the future could be made out...

Computer chips of the future could be made out of honey


Researchers at Washington State University (WSU) believe that honey may be the key to the future of neuromorphic computer chips.

Scientists involved in the study claim that this technology could pave the way for environmentally friendly, biodegradable, and incredibly fast computing.

While honey isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when you think of a computer chip, WSU engineers believe that it could be the key to making computing environmentally friendly while also being powerful enough to mimic the workings of the human brain. Neuromorphic computing is a type of computing that mimics the way neurons in our brains work.

In spite of the fact that many of us are impressed by today’s cutting-edge computer technology, our own brains are a far more impressive accomplishment. When it comes to processing and adapting to new information, the human brain still has a distinct advantage over a computer. This is why neuromorphic computing has been referred to as the future of technology. Despite the fact that computers can process enormous amounts of data much faster than human beings, we still hold the advantage when it comes to coming up with innovative solutions to problems.

As a bridge between technology and the human brain, neuromorphic computing aims to create self-aware systems capable of emulating some aspects of human thought. The goal of these systems is to be faster and more energy efficient than the best PCs currently on the market. As it stands now, it appears that honey can play a significant role in making these futuristic devices more sustainable for our planet..

In the same way that a human brain can process and store information, a memristor can do the same thing.

WSU engineers were able to make an operational memristor out of honey. A memristor is a component similar to a transistor, and it is capable of both processing and storing data in memory, just like a human brain. The memristor in this study was the width of a human hair, but it will need to be made even smaller in the future if it is to fulfill its intended purpose.

Memristors must be developed at the nanoscale in order to achieve the desired 1/1000th of an inch of human hair size. There are likely billions of memristors to be used in the creation of a fully functional, high-performance neuromorphic computer system. Comparatively speaking, the human brain contains over one trillion synapses, or 100 billion neurons.

Feng Zhao, an associate professor in Washington State University’s School of Engineering and Computer Science, was a co-author of the study with a graduate student, Brandon Sueoka. Zhao compared the honey-made memristor to a human neuron, stating that it has similar functionalities while maintaining a small size.

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The researchers used true honey in order to get the desired result. There were two electrodes, one on each side of the solid form, which was placed between them. Through research, it was discovered that the honey memristor was an accurate representation of human synapses. At between 100 and 500 nanoseconds, was used as a yardstick to gauge the device’s responsiveness to on/off commands at the same rate as the human brain.

For neuromorphic computing, it appears that honey memristors have a lot of potential in terms of performance, but their biodegradability is also an obvious advantage. Even though proteins and sugars have also been tested, honey appears to be the most promising organic material thus far.

In other words, honey is impervious to spoilage. In order for bacteria to thrive, the environment must be extremely dry. “This means that these computer chips will be very stable and reliable for a long time,” said Feng Zhao. It’s very easy to dissolve honey-based computer chips in water when they’re no longer needed. For the creation of renewable and biodegradable neuromorphic systems, honey’s unique properties make it an excellent choice.

It was reported in the Journal of Physics D: Applied Physics that the team’s findings had been made public. The researchers, of course, have a long way to go before they can put this technology to use in the real world. In any case, important first steps have already been taken. Consider that in the future, you may be using a computer that runs on honey when you add a spoonful to your next cup of tea.

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Technology has been James's passion for over a decade. After graduating from the University of Chester with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism in 2006, started writing full-time shortly after. Over the years, he has worked on everything from Windows XP to Red Star OS, but more recently has settled into the Apple ecosystem. A regular contributor at, James writes about iOS, macOS, and Apple hardware.


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