Ars Technica: The brain’s neurons encode information in the patterns and timing of spikes of activity. That encoding is hard to model using electronic hardware because most electronics use binary (“0″ and “1″) switches. However, researchers at HP labs have combined memristors and capacitors in a way that allows for the creation of spiking output patterns. Memristors are devices made of materials that behave as insulators until they are heated, at which point they act as conductors. The researchers at HP paired a memristor and a capacitor in a parallel circuit and applied a current. As the voltage heated it, the memristor behaved as a resistor until it reached a critical temperature; then it became a conductor. That switching allowed for full release of the energy stored in the capacitor and thus mimicked the spiking behavior of neurons. The system, which the researchers termed a neuristor, is a very simplified model of neuron behavior and produces a much more regular spiking pattern than a real neuron does. They believe that using a different memristor and a more complicated circuit could allow them to more closely reproduce neuron behavior on a computer chip.