Neuroscience


How we recall the past

MIT News

When we have a new experience, the memory of that event is stored in a neural circuit that connects several parts of the hippocampus and other brain structures. Previous research has shown that encoding these memories involves cells in a part of the hippocampus called CA1, which then relays information to another brain structure called the entorhinal cortex. In one group of mice, the MIT team inhibited neurons of the subiculum as the mice underwent fear conditioning, which had no effect on their ability to later recall the experience. However, in another group, they inhibited subiculum neurons after fear conditioning had occurred, when the mice were placed back in the original chamber.


Google develops computer program capable of learning tasks independently

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The agent uses a method called "deep learning" to turn the basic visual input into meaningful concepts, mirroring the way the human brain takes raw sensory information and transforms it into a rich understanding of the world. The agent is programmed to work out what is meaningful through "reinforcement learning", the basic notion that scoring points is good and losing them is bad. In videos provided by Deep Mind, the agent is shown making random and largely unsuccessful movements at the start, but after 600 hundred rounds of training (two weeks of computer time) it has figured out what many of the games are about. Hassabis stops short of calling this a "creative step", but said it proves computers can "figure things out for themselves" in a way that is normally thought of as uniquely human.


Scientists know how to make mice angry--but mice know how to keep their cool

Popular Science

Researchers at Stanford University Medical Center have taken a closer look at the roots of this rage in the mouse brain, and in a study published today in Neuron, they pinpoint the brain cells that give rise to male territorial aggression. "It's a needle in a haystack compared to the 80 million neurons in the mouse brain," says Nirao Shah, senior study author and a professor at Stanford University. When scientists activated their clusters of VMH neurons, the mice still aggressively defended their cage against intruders. But when placed in a different mouse's cage, they didn't attack, even when the VMH neurons were activated--these mice knew they were guests in someone else's home.


Where AI Meets Neuroscience: How The Human Brain Will Make Robots Smarter

International Business Times

Experts who want to build a better robot are calling for brain scientists and artificial intelligence programmers to work together, saying it will benefit both the advancement of AI technology and our understanding of the human mind. Kaufmann also describes a situation in which AI programmers could plug neuroscientists' experimental algorithms and ideas into an advanced artificial brain and see what comes out, with the information guiding their understanding and future efforts. Experts are calling on neuroscientists and AI programmers to work together to learn more about the human brain and to design better robots. In turn, neuroscientists can use artificial systems to test out their theories about real brains and that would make their work with the AI researchers benefit their own field too.


Startup touts neuro-stimulation as 'medicine for the brain'

The Japan Times

According to California startup Halo Neuroscience, the device can help improve the performance of athletes, pilots and surgeons, and potentially help rehabilitation for stroke victims. By stimulating the motor cortex, Chao says the Halo device can "extract latent potential" in the brain to improve performance for people who rely on making quick decisions and movements such as athletes. The San Francisco startup has also concluded deals with the San Francisco Giants baseball team and the U.S. Olympic ski team to integrate Halo in training programs. Chao, who trained as a doctor and studied neuroscience at Stanford, previously worked at a startup called Neuro Pace, which uses electrical stimulation to treat epilepsy.


Facial recognition cameras could be used by police

Daily Mail

Neurala has created patent-pending facial recognition software capable of working on very small computers, allowing it to be used on wearable devices. Neurala's founder, Massimiliano Versace, said the software works in a similar way to the mammalian brain, allowing it learn faster than traditional search technology. Neurala has created patent-pending facial recognition software capable of working on very small computers, allowing it to be incorporated into wearable devices. Neurala's founder, Massimiliano Versace, said the software works in a similar way to the mammalian brain, allowing it learn faster than traditional search technology.


US military reveals 'Matrix' projects to plug brains into a computer

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'These organizations have formed teams to develop the fundamental research and component technologies required to pursue the NESD vision of a high-resolution neural interface and integrate them to create and demonstrate working systems able to support potential future therapies for sensory restoration,' official said. The team aims to apply techniques from the field of optogenetics to enable communication between neurons in the visual cortex and a camera-based, high-definition artificial retina worn over the eyes, facilitated by a system of implanted electronics and micro-LED optical technology. 'The NESD program looks ahead to a future in which advanced neural devices offer improved fidelity, resolution, and precision sensory interface for therapeutic applications,' said Phillip Alvelda, the founding NESD Program Manager. The program, Neural Engineering System Design (NESD), stands to dramatically enhance research capabilities in neurotechnology and provide a foundation for new therapies.


US Military: DARPA Grants $65 Million To Connect Human Brains With Digital Devices

International Business Times

A U.S. Military DARPA program is putting $65 million into the creation of an implantable device that will provide data-transfer between human brains and the digital world. The program seeks to heighten hearing, sight and other sensory perception as well as creating a digital brain implant to relay neuron transmissions directly to digital devices. DARPA's research team acknowledged that creating an interface and communicating with the signals of one million neurons "sounds lofty," but Alveda says their research will only map out a foundation for more complex research in the future. But if we're successful in delivering rich sensory signals directly to the brain, NESD will lay a broad foundation for new neurological therapies."


US military reveals funding for 'Matrix' projects

Daily Mail

The goal is'developing an implantable system able to provide precision communication between the brain and the digital world,' DARPA officials said. The goal is'developing an implantable system able to provide precision communication between the brain and the digital world,' DARPA officials said. 'These organizations have formed teams to develop the fundamental research and component technologies required to pursue the NESD vision of a high-resolution neural interface and integrate them to create and demonstrate working systems able to support potential future therapies for sensory restoration,' official said. 'The NESD program looks ahead to a future in which advanced neural devices offer improved fidelity, resolution, and precision sensory interface for therapeutic applications,' said Phillip Alvelda, the founding NESD Program Manager.


Henry Markram Talks Brain Simulation (IEEE Spectrum)

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If we succeed in abstracting away the detailed molecular reactions while retaining a detailed, cellular-level resolution, human brain simulation comes much closer. We could also have reasonably high-resolution mouse brain models, and even higher resolution digital copies of the brains of birds, flies, bees, and ants. Only now are humans realizing that the human brain, as an organ belonging to an individual, already has superhuman capabilities: Every human brain embodies layers upon layers of knowledge and experience developed by all the other brains, present and past, who have contributed to building our societies, cultures, and physical environment. Furthermore, in the same way that the human brain embodies the physical and cultural world, it also embodies the technologies we create, including any artificial brains we may create.