BRD18: Building applications with Braindrop—a novel neuromorphic chip for embodied perception and action


  1. The purpose of this workgroup is to give participants an opportunity to build applications with Braindrop. Braindrop is a new mixed analog/digital chip that implements the Neural Engineering Framework (NEF) and is programmable with the Nengo development environment.


  1. Sensory-motor coordination: The system must identify a visual target and track it (e.g., track a rolling ball with a camera and catch it). Demonstrates sensory recognition, motion processing, and motor co-ordination.
  2. Perceptual decision-making: Recent work in neuroscience has shown that decision-making is contextually controlled (Mante et al., 2013). This platform is ideal for building a model and testing it over hundreds of trials to reproduce the dynamics observed in monkey recordings.
  3. Adaptive control: A robust point-to-point controller must be able to adapt to variability in the system being controlled while online. Neural systems are ideal for computing the kinds of functions required of such controllers.
  4. Neuromorphic computing frameworks: Students will identify a small set of neural functions to compute (e.g., an integrator, a controlled oscillator, an interpolation function), and evaluate various frameworks’ strengths and weaknesses on those functions.


  1. Braindrop boards, quadcopters, Lego robotics


  1. The Neural Engineering Framework (NEF) – Chris Eliasmith
  2. The Nengo Simulator – Terrence Stewart
  3. Mapping Applications onto Braindrop’s Architecture – Alex Neckar
  4. Analog Computation cum Digital Communication – Kwabena Boahen