Google and Harvard engineers managed to digitize part of the brain with unprecedented detail

Scientists at Harvard University (USA) and specialists from the technology company Google has managed to digitize one millionth of the human cerebral cortex with unprecedented precision. The resulting map of the part of the brain is available for viewing – watch the video below.

The human brain is an incredibly complex biological system, which, due to the extremely high density of neurons, synapses and other cells, is very, very difficult to map. But engineers at Google and Harvard have made significant progress on this.

The specialists decided to start by mapping a tiny sample of brain tissue – we are talking about one cubic millimeter of the temporal lobe of the cortex. The sample was divided into 5,300 fragments, each just 30 nm thick. The fragments were then scanned by electron microscopy with a resolution of up to 4 nm.

The scientists ended up with 225 million 2D images, from which they then created a 3D map. Artificial intelligence algorithms were run through the data to identify different brain structures. The end result, the H01 dataset, became one of the most detailed maps of the brain. The dataset has 50,000 cells and 130 million synapses, as well as many axons, dendrites and other structures. The map is made up of 1.4 petabytes