To map the connections in just one millimeter of cerebral cortex tissue required over a million gigabytes of data, and 225 million images.
Now assembled by researchers from the Lichtman Lab at Harvard and Google, the 3D image is the most detailed ever taken of our neurology. The hope is to replicate this method enough to create a puzzle of the human brain which is being called the "connectome."
To say the connectome could take our entire lives to complete is no exaggeration. To complete the connectome of a C. elegans worm that possesses just 302 neurons required 12 terabytes of data. Google has also made a swing—along with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, at a fruit fly connectome—which has around 100,000 neurons. It took a year and 100 terabytes to manage about half the fruit fly brain.
Here a 2D image of the C. elegans brain matter is extrapolated by machine learning and other science gubbins into a 3D map.
Rather more detailed
With between 100 and 86 billion neurons and 100 trillion synapses—electrical interchanges and signals between cells, the human brain is rather more detailed than its invertebrate neighbors'.