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Electronic retina and 3D electronics.

Electronic retina and 3D electronics

A conventional integrated circuit is made up of thousands of horizontally connected electronic components embedded in the surface of a silicon wafer. Japanese scientists from seven corporations, who are participating in a 10-year government research project, are stacking these electronics-loaded wafers and integrating the layers with vertical connections in order to make unconventional circuits. Shoei Kataoka of the Sharp Corporation in Nara, Japan, reports in the IEEE ELECTROTECHNOLOGY REVIEW 1986 on his own and others' recent work on using three-dimensional integrated circuits for "intelligent' artificial retinas.

In place of biological photoreceptors such as rod and cone cells, the Japanese scientists use a layer of electronic photosensors. Instead of the the eye's bipolar, horizontal and amacrine cells, which process the information gathered by the rods and cones, the electronic retina has "signal transfer gates, memories, logic gates and driver circuits,' each on its own silicon layer.

From the biological retina, preprocessed signals travel to deeper areas of the visual system via ganglion cells whose axons comprise the optic nerves. The output of the electronic retina will be sent to deeper areas of a computer embedded within the same three-dimensional chip, where it can be processed further. Kataoka comments that the device might be used as "an eye and brain, in a robot.' "By 1990,' he adds, "prototypes of one-chip intelligent imaging devices will be completed.'
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Publication:Science News
Date:Dec 13, 1986
Words:229
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