The ambitious project, which is expected to cost about $ 126 million, aims to unravel the mysteries of the human brain by observing every neuron’s structure and activity.
The new MRI could help scientists to better understand the nature of consciousness and offer the potential for some major medical breakthroughs, including new treatments for degenerative brain diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
The scanner, which will be built at the Shenzhen Institutes of Advanced Technology, will be able to view objects 1,000 times smaller than current MRI scanners once it is completed.
“For the first time, we can capture a complete picture of the human consciousness, or even the essence of life itself,” said one of the project scientists.
“We can then define them and explain how they work physically – just like Newton and Einstein defined and explained the universe.”
But professor He Rongqiao of the Beijing Chinese Academy of Sciences was skeptical about the project. He said: “What is awareness? There’s not even a definition of science.”
“How do you know what you see you’re looking for if you ca n’t even define it?”