The Brain Activity Map project, as it has been called, is said to involve both federal and private agencies and foundations. A meeting was reportedly held at the California Institute of Technology on January 17th, and included nanoscientists and representatives from Google, Microsoft, and Qualcomm. The project is being organized by the Office of Science and Technology Policy, according to what was reported, and will probably cost upwards of $3 billion over the next decade. During his State of the Union address, Obama advocated federal spending on brain research and development. As pointed out by the Times article, Francis S. Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, may have unwittingly confirmed the research project in a tweet: “Obama mentions the #NIH Brain Activity Map in #SOTU.”
In a lead article in today’s New York Times, we learned that the Obama administration is planning a 10-year scientific project to study the workings of the human brain. The proposal, which may be announced as early as March, will include efforts to map the functions and activities of the billions of neurons in the human brain, much like the Human Genome Project.