The brain is an amazing and complex organ. And while many people are fascinated by the brain, they can’t really tell you that much about the properties about how the brain works because we don’t teach neuroscience in schools.
And one of the reasons why is that the equipment is so complex and so expensive that it’s really only done at major universities and large institutions. And so in order to be able to access the brain, you really need to dedicate your life and spend six and a half years as a graduate student just to become a neuroscientist to get access to these tools.
And that’s a shame because one out of five of us, that’s 20 percent of the entire world, will have a neurological disorder. And there are zero cures for these diseases. And so it seems that what we should be doing is reaching back earlier in the eduction process and teaching students about neuroscience so that in the future, they may be thinking about possibly becoming a brain scientist.
When I was a graduate student, my lab mate Tim Marzullo and myself, decided that what if we took this complex equipment that we have for studying the brain and made it simple enough and affordable enoughthat anyone that you know, an amateur or a high school student, could learn and actually participate in the discovery of neuroscience.
当我还是一名研究生的时候，就与同实验室的 Tim Marzullo 决定，将我们现在研究大脑用的复杂仪器进行简化，价格能足够亲民，让任何人，从神经科学爱好者到高中生，都能够学习并参与到探索神经科学的过程当中。
And so we did just that. A few years ago, we started a company called Backyard Brains and we make DIY neuroscience equipment and I brought some here tonight, and I want to do some demonstrations. You guys want to see some?
于是我们这样做了。几年前，我们成立了一家名叫Backyard Brains (大脑后院) 的公司，主要生产DIY的神经科学仪器，我今天带来了一些，打算为大家做现场的演示。你们想看吗?
So I need a volunteer. So right before — what is your name? (Applause) Sam Kelly: Sam. Greg Gage: All right, Sam, I’m going to record from your brain. Have you had this before? SK: No. GG: I need you to stick out your arm for science, roll up your sleeve a bit, So what I’m going to do, I’m putting electrodes on your arm, and you’re probably wondering, I just said I’m going to record from your brain, what am I doing with your arm?
我需要一个志愿者。首先—— 你叫什么名字? Sam Kelly: Sam。Greg Gage：很好，Sam， 我接下来要记录你的脑部活动了。你以前做过这个实验吗?SK：没有。GG：我需要你为了科学伸出胳膊，稍微卷起你的袖子，我接下来要做的，是在你的胳膊上贴几个电极，你可能在想，我刚说我要记录你的大脑，这跟胳膊有什么关系?
Well, you have about 80 billion neurons inside your brain right now. They’re sending electrical messages back and forth, and chemical messages. But some of your neurons right here in your motor cortex are going to send messages down when you move your arm like this. They’re going to go down across your corpus callosum, down onto your spinal cord to your lower motor neuron out to your muscles here, and that electrical discharge is going to be picked up by these electrodes right here and we’re going to be able to listen to exactly what your brain is going to be doing. So I’m going to turn this on for a second.
Have you ever heard what your brain sounds like? SK: No. GG: Let’s try it out. So go ahead and squeeze your hand. (Rumbling) So what you’re listening to, so this is your motor units happening right here. Let’s take a look at it as well. So I’m going to stand over here, and I’m going to open up our app here. So now I want you to squeeze. (Rumbling)
So right here, these are the motor units that are happening from her spinal cord out to her muscle right here,and as she’s doing it, you’re seeing the electrical activity that’s happening here. You can even click here and try to see one of them. So keep doing it really hard. So now we’ve paused on one motor action potential that’s happening right now inside of your brain.
Do you guys want to see some more? (Applause) That’s interesting, but let’s get it better. I need one more volunteer. What is your name, sir? Miguel Goncalves: Miguel. GG: Miguel, all right. You’re going to stand right here. So when you’re moving your arm like this, your brain is sending a signal down to your muscles right here.
你们想看更多的吗?刚才的那个挺有趣的，不过还有更有意思的。我还需要一名志愿者。先生，请问你的名字是?Miguel Goncalves：Miguel GG：好的，Miguel。你需要站在这里。(对SK)当你在这样握拳的时候，你的大脑向你这里的肌肉发出了信号。(对MG)我想让你也像那样握拳。你的大脑也将向你的肌肉发出信号。
I want you to move your arm as well. So your brain is going to send a signal down to your muscles.And so it turns out that there is a nerve that’s right here that runs up here that innervates these three fingers,and it’s close enough to the skin that we might be able to stimulate that so that what we can do is copy your brain signals going out to your hand and inject it into your hand, so that your hand will move when your brain tells your hand to move. So in a sense, she will take away your free will and you will no longer have any control over this hand. You with me?
实际上这里有一根神经 一路上来并支配这三根手指的活动，而这根神经又离皮肤足够近，让我们能够刺激它，所以我们能做的是复制从你(SK)的大脑向手臂发出的信号，并把这个信号注入到你(MG)手臂里，于是你的`手臂会在 你(SK)的大脑告诉手臂要动的时候动。所以从某种意义上说， (对MG)她会夺走你的自由意志，你将无法控制你自己的这只手。你明白了吗?
So I just need to hook you up. (Laughter) So I’m going to find your ulnar nerve, which is probably right around here. You don’t know what you’re signing up for when you come up. So now I’m going to move away and we’re going to plug it in to our human-to-human interface over here.
Okay, so Sam, I want you to squeeze your hand again. Do it again. Perfect. So now I’m going to hook you up over here so that you get the — It’s going to feel a little bit weird at first, this is going to feel like a — (Laughter) You know, when you lose your free will, and someone else becomes your agent, it does feel a bit strange.
好了，Sam，我想请你再次握一下拳。再做一次。好的，完美。(对MG)我现在要把你连接上，这样你就能接收到——刚开始会觉得有点奇怪，你会觉得 — (笑声)你懂的，当你失去了意志，别人成为了你的代理人，这的确会感觉有点奇怪。
Now I want you to relax your hand. Sam, you’re with me? So you’re going to squeeze. I’m not going to turn it on yet, so go ahead and give it a squeeze.
So now, are you ready, Miguel? MG: Ready as I’ll ever be. GG: I’ve turned it on, so go ahead and turn your hand. Do you feel that a little bit? MG: Nope. GG: Okay, do it again? MG: A little bit. GG: A little bit? (Laughter) So relax. So hit it again. (Laughter) Oh, perfect, perfect. So relax, do it again.
那么现在，你准备好了吗，Miguel?MG：我已经迫不及待了。GG：我已经打开仪器了， (对SK)现在试着握一下拳。你感觉到了吗?MG：没有。GG：好，(对SK)再试一次?MG：有一点。GG：有一点? 好，放松。(对SK)再握一次。(笑声) 完美，完美。放松，再来一次。
All right, so right now, your brain is controlling your arm and it’s also controlling his arm, so go ahead and just do it one more time. All right, so it’s perfect. (Laughter)
So now, what would happen if I took over my control of your hand? And so, just relax your hand. What happens? Ah, nothing. Why not? Because the brain has to do it. So you do it again. All right, that’s perfect.
Thank you guys for being such a good sport. This is what’s happening all across the world –electrophysiology! We’re going to bring on the neuro-revolution.