Monday, May 07, 2012

#ROBOTICS: "Robotic Probes Plumb Brain's Circuitry"

Robotic brain probes are enabling is the precise characterization of how each type of brain cell--called neurons--works while they are performing specific tasks. The most important of these is learning. There are thousands of different types of neurons and hundreds of neurotransmitter chemicals handing-off messages among neurons of the brain, yet until now it has been impossible to determine just which are dong what, when. Because the patient is still alive while the robotic probe is in place, it will now be possible to see which neurons are involved in learning, motor control and when processing all the various sensor data streams coming in from eyes, ears, nose, tongue and skin. The second important enabler here is the ability to monitor multiple neurons simultaneously, once and for all answering debates about which parts of the brain do what, when, essentially elucidating the architecture and wiring topology of the brain. Today many anatomical studies have identified the different parts of the brain, and speculated on which are involved for various mental tasks, but with robotic probes it will be possible to finally unravel their complexity. Once achieved, genuine machine cognition will be possible by what I called cognizers in my 1988 book, which was 24 years ahead of its time: "Cognizers--Neural Networks and Machines that Think" (John Wiley & Sons): R. Colin Johnson

Here is what EETimes says about robotic brain probes: Robots enabled the human genome to be mapped in just over 12 years, but it took less than four years for the Paul Allen--Microsoft co-counder--Brain Atlas to be completed last month by robots. Now researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) are hoping to use robots to create a parts list and electrical wiring diagram of the brain, giving companies like IBM a leg-up on creating the cognitive computers of the future...
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