Lucy, Switzerland, Dr Tim Harris discussed on The Economist Radio (All audio)

Automatic TRANSCRIPT

As one of the researchers dr tim harris who is leading a project said to me this is the fundamentally bad idea were poking holes in brains here how so he's not wrong but the reason that you do this is to ultimately help a patient who say is paraplegic and you need to profile a certain region of their brain to allow them to operate say a robotic arm with that bit of their brain with lyson rats the reason that you're doing it is to try and understand the brain because we really don't in general the reason that this thing is useful is that it let you measure what the neurons are doing in there and yes it's about aided apoe colson brains which is why you try make it as thin as possible which is one of the things these guys are doing right but it's not getting the as as fancy is this thing is it's not getting a picture of the whole brain it's still a local thing right it's an extremely local thing a pictures of the whole brain would require sensing every single neurons in the brain and that would require feathering your brain with these spaghetti strands which is what will happen a doctor harris says that people have already put like twenty of these things into the brains of rats and mice eve this really weird picture of like a master a rat with a bunch of knitting needles sticking out of its skull butts the only way we have of taking a full brain picture at the moment is to the very lucy grew see kind of fmr i stuff that doesn't really tell you that much about what is actually happening but okay so how many neurons than can can one watch with his neuro pixel thing you can watch with one strand of this niro pixels device you can watch at seven hundred neurons doing their thing in a line along the spaghetti strand you can plug more in and i think that one of the places that they've been trailing it in switzerland has done about a thousand you're on simultaneously which is way more than we've been able to do before a right but the number still i mean it's still a very serious numbers game right we start with the billions and you're still talking in the hundreds yet again as dr higher said to me.

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