Building a brain

Computers will one day match our own mental agility; learning, navigating and performing complex interactions all on scant power. But getting to that point will require neuroscientists and engineers to reverse engineer our least understood organ—the brain.

A brain showing colorized fiber tracts

Create a map

The brain has 100 billion neurons. Now scientists can map where they go.

3-D rendered illustration of a nerve cell

Monitor the signals

Signals zip through the brain's wiring. Voltage-sensing proteins let scientists watch.


Manipulate the signals

The brain contains many distinct parts. Tools employing light and magnets can reveal what they do.


Get a theory

We know how many of the brain's pieces work. But how they add up to us?


Digitize the circuits

Our brain is faster and more efficient than a PC. A new computer chip is almost as good.


Teach it to interact

Vision took 540 million years to evolve in nature. Computer scientists are inventing it in a decade.