Hardware processing should replace a device\u2019s dependency on networks, some scientists say. Making machines more efficient, saving power and resilience are behind the reasoning.\n\u201cDevices like drones depend on a constant Wi-Fi signal. If the Wi-Fi stops, the drone crashes,\u201d an article about researchers at Binghamton University\u00a0in Binghamton, New York, says.\n\nBut if you make a device independent of any linking, it could become more resilient, the researchers say. Plus, the more processing work one can do on the machine the more energy you\u2019ll save because you won\u2019t have to come up with power to communicate.\n\u201cYou could put 5G and 6G everywhere and assume that you have a reliable internet connection all the time, or you could address the problem with hardware processing, which is what we\u2019re doing,\u201d Louis Piper, associate professor of physics and director of materials science and engineering at the university, says in the article.\nThe Binghamton researchers, along with researchers at Georgia Tech, are working on developing a kind of neuristor circuit that will allow all device processing to take place at the chip level, meaning there\u2019ll be no network load or indeed any requirement to communicate using a network at all. Neuristor circuits are brain-copying computer chips.\n\u201cThe idea is we want to have these chips that can do all the functioning in the chip, rather than messages back and forth with some sort of large server,\u201d Piper says.\nBy doing that, power is saved, but also the machine becomes powerful enough to react to its environment without having to query a larger set of machines somewhere else. That\u2019s not only faster and maybe more reliable, but it also saves energy. One could look at it as edge networks gone extreme.\nNeuristor circuits work like neurons in the brain\nThe man-made neuristor circuits in development try to copy actual biological neurons in the brain. Neurons are the electrically responding nerve cells and fibers in the brain that process information. They send signals to cause muscle contractions, and so on\u2014communicating with the spinal cord and nerves with, importantly, very little energy consumed.\nNeuristor, brain-replicating electronics circuits were first theorized in 1962, and by 2013 were being tested using a material called niobium dioxide (NbO2), the academics write in their paper, published by Nature. The problem with the circuits, however, has been that they require a large voltage and complicated, related fabrication called electroforming to create the only theoretically efficient switching developed thus far. Creating the reality actually defeats the object.\n"Like with Frankenstein's monster, you basically pulse a large amount of electricity through the material, and suddenly it becomes an active element,\u201d Piper says. \u201cThat's not very reliable for an engineering step with fabrication.\u201d\nScalability is a problem, for example.\nBut it\u2019s in this area that the scientists say they have been making breakthroughs, and the team says it's now going to be able to perform the switching functions without the unwieldly bolt of electricity.\n\u201cYou can build a neuristor out of this, and because you don\u2019t need the electroforming, it\u2019s more reliable \u2014 and what you can build an industry on,\u201d Piper says.\nThe group's research could lead to more inexpensive, energy-efficient, and high-density neuristor circuits and give us more energy-efficient and adaptable computing sooner.