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Data's positronic brain

The positronic brain was an extremely sophisticated computation device capable of artificial sentience, created by Dr. Noonian Soong, based on an idea from author Isaac Asimov. It was this unit that enabled Soong's Soong-type androids to achieve true sentience. (TNG: "Datalore")

This device consisted of an artificial neural network, designed to imitate the humanoid brain. The construction of a positronic brain was extremely complex, and Dr. Soong was the only scientist to have done so successfully – on at least six occasions: two unspecified prototypes, B-4, Lore, Data, and Juliana Soong (although B-4, Data, and Juliana Soong were the only truly stable units). Lore's positronic net differed from Data's: it had a Type L phase discriminator compared to Data's Type R. (TNG: "Time's Arrow")

One of the difficulties in creating a stable positronic brain was determining how the electron resistance across the neural filaments was to be resolved. (TNG: "The Measure Of A Man")

Lal's positronic brain

In 2366 aboard the Enterprise-D, Data attempted to emulate his father's work, and created the android Lal. However, Lal's positronic net suffered a cascade failure, and ceased functioning. (TNG: "The Offspring")

In early 2368, Data's positronic links were severed by Beverly Crusher, cutting off his brain from the rest of his body. (TNG: "The Game")

A positronic brain could suffer from a cascade anomaly, which would render it unconscious. (TNG: "Inheritance")

Around 2370, Data began a discussion with Deanna Troi about the long-term effects of space travel on his positronic net, which Troi was later disinclined to continue. (ENT: "These Are the Voyages...")

Medical uses

In 2371, Dr. Julian Bashir implanted Bareil Antos with a positronic matrix to keep him alive after part of his brain stopped functioning due to a bad reaction to various medical treatments Bashir had been forced to perform to keep Bareil available to assist in crucial negotiations with the Cardassians. Bareil awoke but said that the sensations he was experiencing did not seem real and seemed like a distant memory. Later, when other parts of Bareil's brain stopped functioning, Bashir chose to let Bareil die rather than replace the rest of his brain with positronic implants, feeling that he wouldn't be himself if any more of his brain was replaced. (DS9: "Life Support")

It is not mentioned whether or not this technology is the same technology used in Data's brain.

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