Scientists Invent Machine To Discover How Brain Works (Apr, 1935)

Scientists Invent Machine To Discover How Brain Works

THE brain, perhaps the most mystifying organ of the human body, can now be scientifically studied by a new apparatus which photographs amplified “action currents.” Invented by Dr. H. H. Jasper and Dr. L. Carmichael of Brown University, the new machine will permit physicians to study the action of the brain just as the electrocardiograph permits a revealing study of heart action.

A headpiece on the head of the patient picks up electric currents of about one ten-millionths of a volt which flow from the brain in waves, at a rate of from eight to fifty per second. The currents are carried to an amplifying box where they are intensified 500,000 times and flashed across a glass disc. The ordinary currents are smooth and wavy; when the mind is disturbed, they are sharp and irregular.

  1. mike says: October 28, 20097:05 pm

    The machine answered “42”

  2. Jari says: October 28, 20097:23 pm

    Seems that Dr Jasper and Dr Carmichael accomplised a lot in neuroscienses according the Google. And this particular article was in eighth place. Talk about fast indexing 🙂

    Current measured as volts? “..flashed across a glass disc” apparently the writer wasn’t from the electric/electronic department of the Modern Mechanic.

  3. Toronto says: October 29, 200912:33 am

    Jari: I think you’re misreading that. He’s not saying the current of the circuit was “volts”. He described a “current” of electricity, ie some electric “action” and its potential is about a ten millionths of a volt.

    “Flashed across a glass disk” is so much more poetic than “thrown up on the o-scope.” Maybe after the article they could get the budget for a strip recorder, anyway. Then we could have read “dancing needles tell a hula-like story, a story of the brain.”

  4. Don says: October 29, 20098:04 am

    Mike: “What do you get if you multiply six by nine?”

  5. William Deering says: October 29, 20099:50 am

    Jari: I read it the same as you and have similar conclusions. Jari & Tornonto: Possible first draft edit as follows: Change main title to “Scientists Invent Headpiece To Discover How Brain Works”. Change right caption to read “Right – The inventors of the headpiece watch the displayed action current on an oscilloscope screen.”. In the article’s main text change the words “photographs amplified” to read single word “detects” (line 4); delete “the action of” (line 8); add “potential evidence of” between “up” and “electrical” (line 12); and replace second to last sentence “The currents – – – glass disc” with “It is amplified 500,000 times and viewed on the screen of an oscilloscope’s CRT (Cathode Ray Tube)” (begins in line 15, ends in line 17).

  6. blokeice says: January 5, 20108:55 am

    It would appear that this is a precursor to the modern EEG device.

  7. Alan B. Barley says: October 29, 20109:55 pm

    Barely 1 year after this article was published there was a gathering of 60 “brain wave” researchers. — It certainly caught on fast.


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