You know that science used to toy around with the idea of mind control and people used to think that we would not be able to do such things in the following century or so, but it seems that it is finally here. Researchers were able to make mice move as they pleased by using a chip.
It is a LED chip, remote controlled chip which can make mice walk in circles. The chip uses light in order to activate the neurons responsible for movement in the mouse’s brain. It also activates peripheral nerves located across its body that facilitate movement.
This device was announced in Nature Methods, and has been considered the next level in optogenetics. Scientists really have something to look forward to as the chip is very small, can be implanted in any desired specimen and, above all, it does not require a long wire tied to the mouse’s head.
Scientists can actually study, what they call, the mouse’s “natural” behavior and the chip might also provide insight as to how mental illness develops within mice. It is only the beginning, since this ground-breaking achievement has been developed with mice, we might be only a few years away from developing with humans as well.
Ada Poon, who is an assistant at Stanford, declared that the chip brings a set of benefits to science: it provides a “new way of delivering wireless power for optogenetics“ and mice can also move freely during experiments now, allowing scientists to study their behavior and how they react to the chip.
Up until now, scientists in the optogenetics field did not have much to work with, as every experiment included huge, external cables which could reveal what was actually going on in the mouse’s head. While this does benefit science, it impedes knowledge because no mouse can undergo normal mouse behavior.
Not to mention the fact that researchers have to continuously make sure that all the wires are in place, that they are appropriately connected and that they must be put back if they fall or unstrap from the mouse’s heads, which can be a tedious process.
While optogenetics have proven beneficial for studying neurological diseases, such as Parkinson’s for example, the circumstances have not exactly been easy, so the progress made was rather slow. But everything can change with this new LED chip, which can make room for a more accessible approach. And it is not only for scientists, but for mice too!
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