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Connecting mind vs machine. (To Yan.King.Yin)

yan king yin (at dot) y.k.y.lycos.com at hgmp.mrc.ac.uk
Fri Jun 29 06:38:40 EST 2001

"Brian" <zhil at online.no> wrote:
> Hello Yan,
> You mentioned that you were interested in connecting the brain (neurons) to
> electronic equipment.
> As I'm browsing "Life" (Purves), I see that there is one possibility called
> patch clamping
> You may study this, because it seems to be the solution avoiding
> reprogramming DNA in neurons
> as I mentioned earlier (and got flak from one on the board).
> The drawback is that it works on single neurons, not groups; and it might
> also be an advantage........
> It seems to be much easier, but I think that reprogramming is the next step.
> What do you think ?

Hi.. I've been busy reading up materials =)

The patch clamping makes use of a microelectrode that is made of glass.
It is very fine but i think the current "lithographic" technology based
on silicon can achieve about the same fineness, if not more. And that
limit is being pushed down at a steady rate. (The current benchmark is
at ~50 nanometer.)

The integrated circuit approach is also especially suitable for sampling
lots of neurons at once.

Secondly, reprogramming the neuron is a very interesting idea. In theory,
the brain can continually create new synapses while forgeting the past.
For some reason i believe the remote past is located closer to the nuclei,
whereas growth of axons and dendrites usually occur at the growth cones.

What is most critical is an understanding of the brains mechanisms, and
then the technology can reprogram it ... I think neuroscience today is
quite close to understanding it.

About biological vs machine, I am of the opinion that machines have more
potentials because they can be designed more easily. Whereas with biol
one can only reproduce or slightly modify nature.

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