Scientists develop 'brain chip'
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of BBC News
Posted: December 23rd, 2006
US scientists say a silicon chip could be used to replace the hippocampus, where the storage of memories is co-ordinated. They are due to start testing the device on rats' brains shortly. If that goes well, the Californian researchers will test the artificial hippocampus in live rats within six months and then monkeys trained to carry out memory tasks before progressing to human trials once the chip has been proved to be safe. The hippocampus is an area at the base of the brain in humans, close to the junction with the spinal cord. It is believed it "encodes" experiences so they can be stored as long-term memories in another part of the brain. the researchers were able to devise a mathematical model of a whole hippocampus. The model was then programmed on to a chip. They suggest the chip would sit on a patient's skull, rather than inside the brain. Bernard Williams, a philosopher at Oxford University, UK, who is an expert in personal identity, said people might find the technology hard to accept at first.
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