February 16, 2012
“A single human brain has more switches than all the computers, routers and Internet connections on Earth,” said Stephen J. Smith, PhD, a Stanford professor of molecular and cellular physiology, as he took a Macworld audience on a breathtaking HD video tour of the most amazing computer of all — the brain.
The audience was clearly moved by the beauty of the short film, which takes viewers on a virtual flight through the cerebral cortex of a mouse. “The finished product, titled Synaptaesthesia, was stunning,” Mauricio Grijalva wrote yesterday in a Macworld piece.
Smith and his team have pioneered a method for directly observing brain circuit development, structure and function called “array tomography.” Developed by a consortium of neuroscientists, computer scientists, and lab technicians from Stanford, Harvard, and MIT, this technique opens up a window on the brain that will provide researchers with insights on how to diagnose and treat neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s. (Smith’s website also features an animated video of a human brain with Alzheimer’s disease.)