Faculty of 1000

Post-publication peer review

Our brains are the original energy savers

Posted by stevepog on 16 October, 2009

“Hippocampal mossy fibers” may sound like abnormal skin growths on a rare African mammal (to me at least) but they are actually axons of granule cells in the hippocampus which deal with different types of bevaviour such as spatial learning.

The region is also where scientists have discovered the brain’s ability to be energy efficient, detailed in a paper given a high rating by two of our F1000 Biology Faculty Members.

Environmentalists may not be initally be excited by the brain’s power saving nature but the potential is there for the concepts gained to be applied to tech products, as soon as someone with the medical and tech smarts can make the link.

It got me thinking (and I often branch off onto tangents so try to stay with me), what function of the body would be a brilliant thing to replicate? The brain is an obvious one and I won’t even consider genitalia as an answer but what other organs/systems could be reproduced in technological form to make daily life easier?

Similar to the brain’s energy saving ability, the body’s heating and cooling system would be a perfect one.  Airconditioning units may be getting more environmentally-friendly and better at regulating room temperature but as good as our office A/C system is, after about half an hour it leaves me either too hot or too cold.

A quick Google search comes up with thousands of personal heating and cooling products but despite the marketing hype, there’s still nothing out there that really replicates the body’s ability to adapt to the weather conditions.

Over to you 🙂


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