Brain back-up start-up ‘will be the death of users’

Imagine a world where you can successfully map and pinpoint a specific memory within your brain,” the site reads.

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Nectome has said it will one day be capable of scanning the human brain and preserving it, perhaps running a deceased person’s mind as a computer simulation.

However, its current process requires a fresh brain.

The product is “100% fatal”, the team behind it told MIT Technology Review.

The company is backed by Y Combinator, an organisation that picks a group of new companies each year to fund and mentor in the hope they receive major funding further down the line.

According to the company’s website, Nectome claims it will one day be possible to survey the brain’s connectome – the neural connections within the brain – to such a detailed degree that it will be able to reconstruct a person’s memories even after they have died.

“Imagine a world where you can successfully map and pinpoint a specific memory within your brain,” the site reads.

“Today’s leading neuroscience research suggests that it is possible by preserving your connectome.”

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Grant money

Nectome will be part of Y Combinator’s demo days next week – an event where start-ups pitch their new companies to an audience of investors and journalists.

Previous Y Combinator firms include Dropbox and AirBnB.

The firm is also backed by a $960,000 (£687,000) grant from the US National Institute of Mental Health, which said it saw a “commercial opportunity” in brain preservation.

According to MIT Technology Review, the team has consulted lawyers familiar with California’s relatively new laws on dignified end-of-life measures.

The company plans to focus on working with terminally ill people in the testing phase.

The company uses an embalming process to preserve minute details of the brain in microscopic detail.

Its work won a prize for furthering the field of brain preservation when it tried the method on a rabbit.

Taking that further, the team said it had already attempted its technique on a just-deceased woman in Portland, Oregon.

However, even a delay of just a couple of hours meant the brain was already badly damaged, it said.

The next stage is to find someone planning to die via doctor-assisted suicide.

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