Neuroscience: Cutting-edge microsystems advance brain research
Understanding even the most basic brain functions will require considerable advances in the MEMS-based tools that are used in brain research. Sensors that are capable of monitoring single neurons or mapping the complex neural networks responsible for faculties such as memory or learning will be crucial for furthering our knowledge. As the human brain contains around 85 million neurons and 100 trillion synapses, the challenge is enormous. John Seymour and Euisik Yoon and colleagues at the University of Michigan, United States, review the state of the art in microsystem devices that are used to record and stimulate the brain. They highlight innovations in multimodal sensor arrays and illustrate the need for further innovation in packaging and microsystems to match the scale of the neuronal circuits under study. Ultimately the teamwork between neurotechnologists and neuroscientists will lead to critical breakthroughs in brain research over the next decade.