Neural activity maps often present an imperfect picture of how a brain works; you can measure electrical action, stimulate it or imagine the structure, but you can't do all three.
DARPA and the University of Wisconsin might just twitch off that apparently impossible achievement, however. They newly built a hybrid brain sensor that chains both electrical and optical methods to present a vivid picture of what's going on inside the mind. The sensor is mainly made of ultra-thin graphene (just four atoms dense) that both conducts electricity and lets light from side to side. By putting this gadget on top of neural tissue, you can instantaneously create brain activity and display nearly every aspect of it. Graphene is safe for your body, too, so you shouldn't experience the same risks you see with metal blends.
It's still initial days for the plan, so you won't be getting graphene-based transplants in the near future. However, a complete version might do marvels for medicine. Doctors and scientists could see snugger correlations between action in certain parts of the brain and related behavior, which could assistance them study and with any luck treat diseases that before continued to be unknown.
|[Image credit: Science Photo Library - SCIEPRO/Getty Images]|
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