Skip to Main Content
We present a neuromorphic silicon chip that emulates the activity of the biological spinal central pattern generator (CPG) and creates locomotor patterns to support walking. The chip implements ten integrate-and-fire silicon neurons and 190 programmable digital-to-analog converters that act as synapses. This architecture allows for each neuron to make synaptic connections to any of the other neurons as well as to any of eight external input signals and one tonic bias input. The chip's functionality is confirmed by a series of experiments in which it controls the motor output of a paralyzed animal in real-time and enables it to walk along a three-meter platform. The walking is controlled under closed-loop conditions with the aide of sensory feedback that is recorded from the animal's legs and fed into the silicon CPG. Although we and others have previously described biomimetic silicon locomotor control systems for robots, this is the first demonstration of a neuromorphic device that can replace some functions of the central nervous system in vivo.