London, March 12 (Reuters): Scientists have developed the first artificial region of the brain — a silicon chip that mimics an area that controls memory, mood and awareness.
Devised by researchers at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, the chip is designed to carry on the functions of the region known as the hippocampus and could one day be used to help people with brain damage.
It will first be tested on tissue from rats’ brains, and then on live animals. “If all goes well, it will then be tested in a way to help people who have suffered brain damage due to stroke, epilepsy or Alzheimer’s disease,” New Scientist magazine said today.
Theodore Berger and his team developed the artificial hippocampus as a test case to see if it could be done. It has taken them nearly 10 years. First they devised a mathematical model of how the hippocampus performs under all conditions. The next step involved building the model into a silicon chip and then interfacing the chip with the brain in laboratory studies.