For 10 years, scientists with the Blue Brain Project at Switzerland’s Ecole Polytechnique Federale have been trying to reverse-engineer a rat’s brain and build one themselves. Now they finally have a rough draft.
The group made a digital replication of a portion of a rat’s neocortex, the part of the brain that controls sensory perception, motor activity and conscious thought. After years of experiments, the team has been able to model a slice of brain with more than 31,000 brain cells, 55 layers of cells and 207 different cell types.
Perhaps even more important, the model reflects the way the cells interconnect — as many as 2,000 connections between each type of brain cell. TJ