The U.S. has announced the allocation of $46 million to develop new technologies for exploring the brain.
Wearable brain scanners and lasers that can turn hundreds of cells on and off were among 58 projects awarded the figure in federal grants as part of President Obama’s $100 million initiative to unlock the secrets of the human brain.
Most of the projects focus on developing new tools to help answer basic questions about the brain, including classifying the myriad cell types in the brain and developing new methods to record brain activity and integrate that into fundamental theories of the brain.
Launched in 2013, the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative is designed to give scientists greater insight into how the healthy brain works and a better understanding of what systems go awry in diseases ranging from Alzheimer’s to schizophrenia.
“Every dollar we invested to map the human genome returned $140 to our economy — every dollar,” said Obama, referring to the decades-long Human Genome Project, a groundbreaking international effort to map our DNA, which this new project is being silhouetted against. “Today our scientists are mapping the human brain to unlock the answers to Alzheimer’s. They’re developing drugs to regenerate damaged organs, devising new materials to make batteries 10 times more powerful. Now is not the time to gut these job-creating investments in science and innovation.”