Eavesdropping on the Brain With 10,000 Electrodes

Thanks to advances in neuroscience and microelectronics engineering, we finally have a tool that will let us begin to reverse engineer the wonders of the brain.

People often think of technology as applied science, but the scientific study of brains is essentially applied sensor technology. Each invention of a new way to measure brain activity—including scalp electrodes, MRIs, and microchips pressed into the surface of the cortex—has unlocked major advances in our understanding of the most complex, and most human, of all our organs.

The brain is essentially an electrical organ, and that fact plus its gelatinous consistency pose a hard technological problem. In 2010, I met with leading neuroscientists at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) to explore how we might use advanced microelectronics to invent a new sensor. Our goal: to listen in on the electrical conversations taking place among thousands of neurons at once in any given thimbleful of brain tissue.

Read More at IEEE Spectrum

Read the rest at IEEE Spectrum