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Of the Artistic Nude and Technological Behaviorism

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Leon Harmon and the First Steps towards Neuromorphic Hardware

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Neuromorphic technologies lie at the core of 21st century neuroscience, especially in the “big brain science” projects started in 2013 – i.e. the BRAIN Initiative and the Human Brain Project. While neuromorphism and the “reverse engineering” of the brain are often presented as a “methodological revolution” in the brain sciences, these concepts have a long history which is strongly interconnected with the developments in neuroscience and the related field of bioengineering since the end of World War II. In this paper I provide a short review of the first generation of “neuromorphic devices” created in the 1960s, by focusing on the work of Leon Harmon and his “neuromime,” whose material history overlapped in a very interesting sense with the visual and artistic culture of the second half of the 20th century.

Affiliations: 1: University of Pisa


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