OBAMA to INVEST $100 million on mapping your BRAIN
A professor friend from Europe whilst out in Australia to attend a conference in Perth on Digital Earth, strongly advised me to subscribe to the digital earth newsletters for me to keep an eye on the latest technology. This article I found as per the below link, if u are interested.
I am not confortable with what I read between the lines, are you happy with this expenditure and what is in store for your military?
Last week, the Obama administration announced a plan to invest $100 million to begin mapping the brain. While much of this work is ongoing in many disciplines, the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies or BRAIN Initiative has been touted as an investment in basic scientific research for greater understanding and better public health with job creation and economic returns.
The Human Genome Project to map all human DNA is reported to have returned $140 for every dollar invested, and similar returns are hoped for in this effort.
The desire to discover and record the unknown, and to allow U.S. corporations to pin the flag of intellectual property upon uncharted territory, is a classic mapping exercise.
The fact that this effort is a public/private partnership with diverse federal partners from the National Institutes of Health, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and the National Science Foundation, also speaks to the legacy of any mapping effort, where multiple funders and interests come together to forge new understanding, and to profit from it.
It’s becoming increasingly clear that any mapping effort provides an economic platform for private enterprise and improved government efficiency, whether that’s mapping our world or mapping our biology. The recent research reports that Google sponsored do a good contemporary job of quantifying these benefits in the age of the Internet, but we’ve clearly known the benefits of mapping dating back to the earliest explorers.
What’s different in today’s efforts, compared to the historical, is that the realization of benefits are so much more immediate thanks to our hyper-connected world. With past expeditions of uncharted lands, it would take months or years to share new maps, then decades or centuries for a nation to capitalize on claimed territory by exploiting the natural resources. With the brain mapping effort, we can expect immediate capitalization on new knowledge to find cures, and improve lives while also reducing health costs. While both past and current outcomes are tied to economic benefits, today’s knowledge application has a more lasting and sustainable impact.
Technology Sweet Spot
Much of the enthusiasm about this brain mapping effort highlights the use of the latest technology that can isolate individual brain cells, and provide a detailed visualization of complex neural circuits. The effort is as much about funding these new scientific tools as it is about unlocking the knowledge that they can uncover. This connection with mapping missions to cutting-edge technologies plays out in historical context as well, with each new paradigm shift in mapping tools spurring a flurry of mapping efforts.
The commercialization of LiDAR technology is an easy current example of this phenomenon, with these new precision 3D mapping tools spurring a wide range of activity in multiple areas for new insights. What’s been most impressive with LiDAR advancements are the rapid development of tailor-made platforms for all kinds of mapping efforts from mining, to interior mapping, to coastal bathymetry, to forensic applications. Certainly one aim of the seed funding for greater brain mapping are the ancillary applications of this new mapping technology for further explorations of the neural network.
There appears to be bi-partisan support for this inspirational science research, given the understanding that ambitious challenges such as these, that advance both science and technology, have broad and ongoing returns. Like all mapping efforts, the brain mapping project builds upon prior discoveries, and brings the new knowledge together with prior maps at lesser resolution to unlock a more detailed picture.
It’s interesting to note that viewing the high-resolution image of the brain stands to benefit from spatial visualization advancements in the mapping realm in both software and hardware that have made these technologies both cheaper and more performant. By spurring the development of high-resolution 3D visualization of the brain, there’s a good chance that this benefit will be reciprocal as well as any advancement in 3D visualization capacity scales both ways.
There’s another aspect of this new mapping effort that aligns with today’s current mapping practice, and that’s the desire for a detailed picture of real-time brain action, much in the way sensors and systems are providing real-time management through the combination of sensors and systems in an urban context. We’re at a phenomenal time of technology advancement right now, where the pace of exploration is accelerated, and where insights at all scales seem to be coming together for a new understanding. It certainly makes sense to be bold in light of this convergencehttp://www.sensorsandsystems.com/dialog/perspectives/29991-what-are-some-of-the-parallels-between-the-brain-mapping-initiative-and-mapping-in-general.html
By Matt Ball | 09 April 2013 | 330