Chips Coming to a Brain Near You

October 25, 2004 | Source: Wired News

Professor Theodore W. Berger, director of the Center for Neural Engineering at the University of Southern California, is creating a silicon chip implant that mimics the hippocampus. It could replace its biological counterpart, enabling people who suffer from memory disorders to regain the ability to store new memories.

The chip simulates the processing of biological neurons in the slice of rat hippocampus: accepting electrical impulses, processing them using mathematical functions, and then sending on the transformed signals. The researchers claim a 95 percent accuracy rate.

The team next plans to work with live rats that are moving around and learning, and will study monkeys later. They anticipate an artificial human hippocampus, potentially usable for a variety of clinical disorders, in 15 years.