Squatting in the basement of a brick building on the UW campus, like some kind of demented dentist's chair, is the machine that will one day unlock the secrets of how babies learn. It's the first brain imaging device in the world that's been designed specifically for neuroscientific study of the infants and young children.
The one-ton magnetoencepalography (MEG) device can map the whole brain activity of an infant, tracking neurons as they fire, one millisecond at a time.
Why do you care?
First, you may not know it, but you are already a fan of ILABS (the Institute for Learning and Brain Sciences). The work being done here has already forever shifted how we view babies' brains.
You've heard the expression "born learning?" You can track that one right back to ILABS. We're talking world-class research, right here in Seattle, which is already known as the hub of early-learning science advancement.
You also care about this $7-million machine because you helped to pay for it. The state kicked in $4 million out of its tobacco settlement fund, because, as Gov. Christine Gregoire said at the unveiling, "...our state is absolutely committed to early learning every single day.
"Our goal is to make sure that every single child is ready to learn by the time they enter all-day kindergarten," Gregoire says. "If we can do that, my friends, we won't have to open up any more prisons. In fact, we can close them all."
Can't wait for what's next.