Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Invention of the day: A specialized microchip that facilitates neuron-to-computer interfacing.
The computer chip is capable of receiving signals from more than 16,000 mammalian brain cells, and sending messages back to several hundred cells. Previous neuron-computer interfaces have either connected to far fewer individual neurons, or to groups of neurons clumped together.

A team from Italy and Germany worked with the mobile chip maker Infineon to squeeze 16,384 transistors and hundreds of capacitors onto an experimental microchip just 1mm squared. When surrounded by neurons the transistors receive signals from the cells, while the capacitors send signals to them.