Scientists in the UK have come up with a way to read brain signals using chips. In the future, they can be combined into a whole system.
A group of scientists from the University of Sussex in Brighton (UK) built a modular quantum brain scanner for the first time and used it to register organ signals. This is the first time a modular quantum brain sensor has ever detected a brain signal in the world. The researchers noted that this is an important breakthrough for scientists working on quantum brain imaging technology, since the modular sensors can be scaled. The team also paired two sensors and proved that in the future they will be able to scan signals from the whole brain.
The device, created at the university’s quantum systems and devices laboratory, uses ultra-sensitive quantum sensors to capture tiny magnetic fields to look inside the brain and map neural activity.
The team attached the sensors to the outside of the participant’s skull, next to the visual cortex. They asked the participant to open and close their eyes at intervals of 10-20 seconds and found the desired signal. This is a very simple action, but it takes the most sophisticated quantum technology to see how it happens inside the brain.
The researchers added that the quantum sensor must be very sensitive in order to pick up magnetic fields in the brain, which are actually very weak. In comparison, the magnetic field of the brain is a trillion times smaller than the magnetic field of the refrigerator.
“Since our device is unique in that it is modular, and we have shown that modularity works by connecting two sensors together – we now plan to expand this project by creating more sensors to turn it into an entire brain imaging system. This could lead to significant advances in the detection and treatment of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, ”the scientists note.