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In order to fully understand the interface methods of neuroprosthetics and brain-machine interfacing, increasingly used to interface with VR systems, a basic grounding of the wetware components of the brain might be beneficial.

The synapse is the cornerstone of the function of an organic brain. It is the point at which electrochemical signals pass from one neuron to the next. Most brain machine interfaces are centred around monitoring the firing of synapses.

A synapse is essentially a tiny gap, between an axon transmitting data, and a dendrite receiving data. The gap is typically only a few atoms wide. Information is passed one of two ways.

A. By chemical neurotransmitter release from the axon tip to receivers on the dendrite.
B. By electron exchange.

Once molecules or electrons pass from one to the other, the synapse has ?fired?. Presently, only the electrical exchanges ? electron circuitss ? can be interfaced by neuroprosthetics.

Each nerve cell may interface with thousands of synapses, in many cases there may be dozens or even hundreds of synapse connections between just two cells. Overall, the human brain is estimated to contain around 500 trillion synapses.

See Also: Axon Tip, Dendrite, Neuron

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Like a gardener who stakes some plants and weeds out others, the brain is constantly building networks of synapses, while pruning out redundant or unneeded synapses. Researchers at The Jackson Laboratory led by Assistant Professor Zhong-wei...

A discovery by Duke University Medical Center neurobiologist Michael Ehlers, has opened the way for an understanding as to just how the brain processes memory on a physical level.

Individual memories are "burned onto" hundr...

Duke University Medical Center researchers have identified a missing-link molecule that helps to explain the process of plasticity (rearranging neural connections in learning and forming memories) and could lead to new therapies.

Almost since computing began, scientists and technologists have been fascinated with the idea of a computer that works similarly to the human brain. In 2008, the first "memristor" was built, a device that is designed to behave in a manner...

Scientists at UC Santa Barbara have made a major discovery in how the brain encodes memories. The finding, published in the December 24 issue of the journal Neuron, could eventually lead to the development of new drugs to aid memory.