The Allen Brain Observatory is open for business, revealing what’s running through the mind of a mouse as it sees patterns of light and dark, pictures of butterflies and tigers – or even the opening scene of Orson Welles’ 1958 classic film, “Touch of Evil.”
The online repository of 30 trillion bytes’ worth of brain-cell readings represents the latest scientific offering from the Allen Institute for Brain Science, funded by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen. It follows through on a $300 million pledge that Allen made more than four years ago.
The Allen Institute’s president and chief scientific officer, Christof Koch, has compared the project to a Hubble Space Telescope for the brain.
“No one has ever taken this kind of industrial approach to surveying the active brain at cellular resolution in order to measure how the brain processes information in real time,” Koch said today in the institute’s announcement of the data release. “This is a milestone in our quest to decode how the brain’s computations give rise to perception, behavior and consciousness.”