[extropy-chat] Research question: power supply for silicon-based neural prostheses

Keith Henson hkhenson at rogers.com
Tue Mar 13 03:50:16 UTC 2007

At 07:24 PM 3/12/2007 -0400, you wrote:
> >>I think there is a watch somewhere that is powered by energy generated
> >>by people swinging their arms back and forth...
> >
> >Ah, a brain chip powered by *nodding*!
> >
> ><nods>
>Geez, I turn my back for a moment and comedy breaks out!
>[BTW, my favorite stupid home-shopping network useless item is the 
>electric gyroscope you plug in and attach your Rolex (or similar perpetual 
>movement) watch to, to keep it 'wound,' especially since there IS a winder 
>on the watch if it runs out... I guess people can't be bothered to set and 
>wind a watch anymore.  I once walked into a "Hollywood" closet and saw a 
>row of about six of these, each spining and winding a watch.  Just the 
>electric power draw for these was ridiculous.  Oh well.  Whatever.]

I doubt they were using more than 15 watts each.

>I'm serious.  I'm sure I read something somewhere about using our own 
>biochemistry to power prostheses...  Was I really dreaming this?

When you get serious, that's a sign you need to put numbers on it.  Or let 
Google do it for you.

2 500 (kilocalories per day) = 121.064815 watts

A little searching gives you the power consumption of a brain


About 20 watts.

About two years ago I calculated the area of silicon and power it would 
take to duplicate the computation a human brain uses.  It worked out to be 
something on the order of 10,000 square meters and the power draw was in 
the 10 Gw range.

You should rerun this calculation, but if I got it right the improvement 
you would need power wise to run a brain in silicon from the amount 
available from the human bloodstream is on the order of 10 exp 9.  That's a 
billion times.

Keith Henson

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