MadSci Network: Neuroscience

Re: Can electrical brain impulses be converted to binary?

Date: Sat Oct 21 09:51:54 2000
Posted By: Jeffrey Utz, M.D., Neuroscience, pediatrics, Allegheny University
Area of science: Neuroscience
ID: 969761784.Ns

Yes, it is possible to record and convert electrical impulses from the 
brain and record them in a computer. Several labs do this on a regular 
basis. They stick little wires into, say, rat brains. Then the little wires 
are connected to tiny amplifiers on the rats' heads. The amplifiers then 
are connected to computers to record the impulses. With this type of 
setup, you can record impulses from about 100 individual brain cells at 
one time. You can also record impulses from groups of neurons as well.

These recordings of neurons are used to try to figure out how different 
parts of the brain work and how brain cells communicate with each other.

One neat thing that records of the brain from rats have been used for is 
to control a robotic arm (Go to & This has potential uses in 
helping people who have been paralyzed be able to move again on their own.

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