Hi Tech & Innovation

Time to worry: Silicon Valley wants to read your mind

Not content with monitoring almost everything you do online, Facebook now wants to read your mind as well. The social media giant recently announced a breakthrough in its plan to create a device that reads people's brainwaves ...

Robotics

Engineers show off Astro the robot dog

What would you get if you combined Apple's Siri and Amazon's Alexa with Boston Dynamic's quadraped robots? You'd get "Astro," the four-legged seeing and hearing intelligent robodog.

Machine learning & AI

The brain inspires a new type of artificial intelligence

Machine learning, introduced 70 years ago, is based on evidence of the dynamics of learning in the brain. Using the speed of modern computers and large datasets, deep learning algorithms have recently produced results comparable ...

Machine learning & AI

The next step in AI? Mimicking a baby's brain

The phrase "positive reinforcement," is something you hear more often in an article about child rearing than one about artificial intelligence. But according to Alice Parker, Dean's Professor of Electrical Engineering in ...

Engineering

Researchers build hybrid chip able to run autonomous bicycle

A team made up of members from a host of institutions in China, one in Singapore and one in the U.S., has built a hybrid chip that can control an autonomous bicycle. In their paper published in the journal Nature, the group ...

Hi Tech & Innovation

What do dragonflies teach us about missile defense?

Be grateful you're not on a dragonfly's diet. You might be a fruit fly or maybe a mosquito, but it really wouldn't matter the moment you look back and see four powerful wings pounding through the air after you. You fly for ...

Robotics

In the shoes of a robot: The future approaches

Identifying with someone is an exercise that helps us understand them deeply, empathize with them, and helps us overcome mistrust and prejudice. And this occurs even when that someone is a robot. These interpersonal dynamics ...

Business

Musk shows off progress on brain-machine interface

Futurist entrepreneur Elon Musk late Tuesday revealed his secretive Neuralink startup is making progress on an interface linking brains with computers, and said they hope to begin testing on people next year.

Robotics

This assistive robot is controlled via brain-computer interface

Researchers at the University of Cassino and Southern Lazio, in Italy, have recently developed a cutting-edge architecture that enables the operation of an assistive robot via a P300-based brain computer interface (BCI). ...

page 2 from 11

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