Monday, April 25, 2011

Synthetic brain with the help of nanotechnology

There are many ongoing researchers all over the world with the purpose of creating a synthetic (artificial) brain, and one of the most promising scientific researches comes from the University of Southern California where scientists managed to create a carbon nanotube synapse circuit whose behavior in tests was able to reproduce the function of a neuron, the building block of the brain that transmits information via synapses.

Carbon nanotubes, the extremely small molecular structures of carbon have so far showed big potential in several different scientific fields, and now the scientists have showed that they can be also used to create a synapse, which is an important step towards the creation of synthetic brain.

Of course we are talking here about the very early stage of development, and science will certainly need lot more researches before being able to successfully create synthetic brain simply because our brain has more than 100 billion neurons.

Professor Alice Parker said that "the actual development of a synthetic brain, even a functional brain area is decades away, and she believes that the first hurdle that science needs to overcome is to create solution for reproducing the brain plasticity in the circuits.

The scientific challenge in creating the synthetic brain almost looks impossible from the current point of view because the human brain continually produces new neurons, makes new connections and adapts throughout life. In other words, complexity at its very best.

Nanotechnology might be an answer to this complexity but such major discovery is at least couple of decades away. The creation of synthetic brain could have an extremely large span of usefulness from healing the traumatic brain injuries to developing intelligent cars that would maximally protect drivers.