Electronics & Semiconductors

For neural research, wireless chip shines light on the brain

Researchers have developed a chip that is powered wirelessly and can be surgically implanted to read neural signals and stimulate the brain with both light and electrical current. The technology has been demonstrated successfully ...

Electronics & Semiconductors

New electronic chip delivers smarter, light-powered AI

Researchers have developed artificial intelligence technology that brings together imaging, processing, machine learning and memory in one electronic chip, powered by light.

Machine learning & AI

Artificial Intelligence also has illusory perceptions

Researchers from the Image Processing Laboratory (IPL) of the University of Valencia and the Department of Information and Communication Technologies (DTIC) of the Pompeu Fabra University (UPF) have shown that convolutional ...

Security

Are brain-computer interface spellers secure?

Brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) record and decode brain signals to construct a communication pathway, which allows people to interact with a computer by thought directly. BCIs have been used in a broad range of applications, ...

Robotics

Brain activity reveals individual attitudes toward humanoid robots

The way humans interpret the behavior of AI-endowed artificial agents, such as humanoid robots, depends on specific individual attitudes that can be detected from neural activity. Researchers at IIT-Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia ...

Computer Sciences

AI learns to trace neuronal pathways

Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) scientists have taught computers to recognize a neuron in microscope images of the brain more efficiently than any previous approach. The researchers improved the efficiency of automated ...

Computer Sciences

A computer predicts your thoughts, creating images based on them

Researchers at the University of Helsinki have developed a technique in which a computer models visual perception by monitoring human brain signals. In a way, it is as if the computer tries to imagine what a human is thinking ...

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Brain

The brain is the center of the nervous system in all vertebrate, and most invertebrate, animals. Some primitive animals such as jellyfish and starfish have a decentralized nervous system without a brain, while sponges lack any nervous system at all. In vertebrates, the brain is located in the head, protected by the skull and close to the primary sensory apparatus of vision, hearing, balance, taste, and smell.

Brains can be extremely complex. The cerebral cortex of the human brain contains roughly 15-33 billion neurons depending on gender and age, linked with up to 10,000 synaptic connections each. Each cubic millimeter of cerebral cortex contains roughly one billion synapses. These neurons communicate with one another by means of long protoplasmic fibers called axons, which carry trains of signal pulses called action potentials to distant parts of the brain or body and target them to specific recipient cells.

The most important biological function of the brain is to generate behaviors that promote the welfare of an animal. Brains control behavior either by activating muscles, or by causing secretion of chemicals such as hormones. Even single-celled organisms may be capable of extracting information from the environment and acting in response to it. Sponges, which lack a central nervous system, are capable of coordinated body contractions and even locomotion. In vertebrates, the spinal cord by itself contains neural circuitry capable of generating reflex responses as well as simple motor patterns such as swimming or walking. However, sophisticated control of behavior on the basis of complex sensory input requires the information-integrating capabilities of a centralized brain.

Despite rapid scientific progress, much about how brains work remains a mystery. The operations of individual neurons and synapses are now understood in considerable detail, but the way they cooperate in ensembles of thousands or millions has been very difficult to decipher. Methods of observation such as EEG recording and functional brain imaging tell us that brain operations are highly organized, but these methods do not have the resolution to reveal the activity of individual neurons.

This text uses material from Wikipedia, licensed under CC BY-SA