Cerebro (Portuguese and Spanish for "brain") is a device that the X-Men (in particular, Professor Charles Xavier) use to detect humans, specifically mutants. It was created by Xavier and Magneto, and was later enhanced by Dr. Hank McCoy. A second version of Cerebro is called Cerebra and was secretly installed at the west coast mutant school Academy X.

Use and Function

Cerebro amplifies the brainwaves of the user. In the case of telepaths, it enables the user to detect traces of others worldwide, also able to distinguish between humans and mutants. The power of Cerebro depends on the power of the user. At times users could detect mutated aliens outside of the planet, at other times users could only scan for mutants' signatures in the United States. It can detect mutants both by the power signature they send out when they use their powers and by the presence of the X-gene in their body.

Using Cerebro can be extremely dangerous, and telepaths without well-trained, disciplined minds put themselves at great risk when attempting to use it. This is due to the psychic feedback that users experience when operating Cerebro. As the device greatly enhances natural psychic ability, users who are unprepared for the sheer enormity of this increased psychic input can be quickly and easily overwhelmed, resulting in insanity, coma, permanent brain damage or even death. The one exception has been Magneto, who has been said to have minor or latent telepathic abilities as well as experience amplifying his mental powers with mechanical devices of his own design. Kitty Pryde once upgraded Cerebro so that non-telepaths could use the device. This was during the time that Professor Xavier was with the Shi'ar and Rachel Summers had just left the team. Kitty was able to track Nightcrawler who became missing after a battle with Nimrod.

The only characters to use Cerebro on a frequent basis are Professor X, Jean Grey, Emma Frost and the Stepford Cuckoos. However, Rachel Summers and Psylocke have also used it. The Stepford Cuckoos once utilized the machine to amplify their combined ability, with only one of them directly connected to the machine, but all of them experiencing its interaction due to their psychic rapport. The strain of mentally halting a riot during Open Day killed Sophie, the Stepford Cuckoo who was hooked up to Cerebra. Sophie was both inexperienced at using Cerebra and was high on the mutant-enhancing drug "Kick"; however, it was revealed that it was not the strain of using the machine, nor the drug, that was responsible for her death, but Sophie's own sister Esme, who also used Kick to power her own abilities, seize control of the Cuckoos temporarily, and manipulate Sophie into her death. The remaining three Cuckoos later demonstrated that they were capable of using Cerebra with relative ease.

Some mutants have learned to shield themselves from Cerebro, usually via their own telepathic ability. Magneto can shield himself from the device through use of minimal telepathic powers or with a specially constructed helmet.

The eXalts, while mind controlled by Danielle Robataille into believing they were in the year 2020 and in the midst of a war with the east coast mutants, tried to use Cerebro to depower all mutants in the belief that they would save the world from destruction.



Members of the Board of Trustees for Academy X installed backup Cerebro unit at the west coast mutant school, Academy X. This unit, called Cerebra, was meant to be a secret backup in case Cerebro was somehow compromised. The unit was discovered when Professor X trapped Cassandra Nova inside the device and Nova was able to summon a group of sophomores to free her. Later agents from Academy M were able to steal the device. After the collapse of Academy M following Jacob Robitaille’s Purifier attack, the Academy M Board of Trustees (Hellfire Club: Tokyo’s Crimson branch) took possession of the device. During the Purifier attack, Maya “Uplink” Riviera uploaded herself into the device. She then took control over the mutant telepath and Hellfire Club: Tokyo leader, Gorgon, and used him to exact her revenge on the Purifiers and the eXalts. She attempted to upload Cameron “Vortex” LaPrue’s mind into Cerebra with her, but she was defeated during the eXalts attack on the S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier over San Francisco. The Cerebra unit, as well as Maya, were destroyed at this time.

Danielle Robataille acquired the Cerebra helmet and modified it to be able to be used remotely. With this, she was able to use Cerebra to take away the eXalts' powers by turning them back into latent mutants. She planned on using it to depower all mutants, but the eXalts were able to stop here. However, Michael Schwartz used the Cerebra unit while on Utopia to reactivate their x-genes.... as well as the x-genes in all latent mutants in the San Francisco area.