A plan to map the activity of entire brain regions down to the level of indvidual neurons got its official nod from the White House on Tuesday when President Obama announced his budget will request $100 million in funding for the project in 2014.
The brain activity map project, now officially dubbed the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies, or BRAIN (get it?), will be a sprawling project requiring scientists and engineers to develop new technologies that can record activity from millions or even billions of neurons simultaneously (see “The Brain Activity Map”).
Obama said that the initiative could help researchers understand and perhaps even cure diseases and conditions like Alzheimer’s, autism and stroke, and it could help veterans with cope with amputations, paralysis or post-traumatic stress disorder. The BRAIN project, like all basic research, will also drive economic growth and create new, if as-yet-unimaginable jobs, he said.