Google Makes an Extremely Detailed Map of the Brain

Google, in collaboration with the Janelia Research Campus, mapped the brain connections of a fruit fly. This is a 3D model in the highest resolution to date.


The 3d model is a representation of around 25,000 nerve cells or neurons in the brains of a fruit fly that are interconnected.

The Google team and the Janelia Research Campus managed to achieve such a high level of sharpness by cutting parts of the brain into ultra-thin ‘slices’ (20 microns). These pieces were then digitised and attached to each other again using an electron microscope.

The result is so detailed, with so few interruptions, that it gives a picture of the trajectory of the individual neurons through the brain.

Despite the high level of detail, the 3d model ultimately only shows a quarter of the total of 100,000 neurons in the brain of a fruit fly. The human brain is many times more complex and contains an estimated 100 billion nerve cells.

The visual material and associated data of the mapped brain connections can be viewed and studied by everyone on the Janelia Research Campus website.

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