Cerebro is a machine designed by Professor
Charles Xavier for the purpose of locating mutant
human beings possessing superhuman abilities. Cerebro
does so by detecting the unusual waves of psionic energy
("brain waves") which superhumanly powerful mutants emit
for reasons and through processes which remain unknown.
The computer system in Cerebro can roughly measure the
amount of superhuman power possessed by the mutant, determine
the mutants geographical location, and even specify the
identity of the mutantsif given sufficient data.
Although anyone can be taught to use it, Cerebro acts
most effectively when it is linked to the mind of Professor
Xavier or a being with similar telepathic abilities. By
wearing a special headset connect to Cerebro, Xavier is
able to use his psionic powers to increase Cerebro's ability
to detect prionic waves. Indivdual members of the X-Men
have sometimes carried smaller versions of Cerebro colloquially
termed "portable Cerebros" with them. A "portable Cerebro"
in telemetric with the main computer console, can detect
the presence of a human mutant at short range.
Xavier began work on developing Cerebro before he founded
the X-Men. He used an early version of the device, he
called Cyberno to locate Scott Summers, who, as Cyclops,
became Xavier's first recruit for the X-Men. Xavier completed
the first true Cerebro machine shortly after the fifth
X-Man, Marvel Girl (now known as Phoenix
II), joined the team. He named Cerebro after the human
cerebrum, the largest section of the human brain and the
part responsible for transmitting waves.