Scientists in the US hacked the brains of fruit flies to make them remotely controlled
Scientists at Rice University, USA have found a way to hack the brains of fruit flies to control them remotely. The team of neuroengineering scientists was able to use magnetic field signals to activate target neurons that control the flies’ body position and movement.
Base on the research Published in the journal Nature Minerals, the team of researchers began by genetically engineering flies so that they express a certain heat-sensitive ion channel in some of their neurons. By injecting iron oxide nanoparticles into their brains to act as a heat activator, the team was then able to use the magnetic field to heat the particles and activate neurons.
To demonstrate this, the researchers selected a specific neuron that causes the insects to spread their wings – a gesture they commonly use during mating. They found that it could activate neural circuits 50 times faster than any previous technology.
The breakthrough represents the “holy grail” of neurotechnology, the researchers say, as the science could be used in everything from treating diseases to developing brain-machine interfaces, researchers say. research said.
“For brain research or the treatment of neurological disorders, the scientific community is looking for tools that are both incredibly powerful,” said Jacob Robinson, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering at Rice University. but also minimally invasive.
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“Remote control of selective neural circuits using magnetic fields is somewhat of a holy grail for neurotechnology. Our work takes an important step towards that goal because it increases the speed of remote control, making it close to the natural speed of the brain”. he added, follow the Independence.
To achieve the feat, the team brought together experts in genetic engineering, nanotechnology and electrical engineering. They say their immediate goal is to use this type of technology to restore some vision to patients with vision impairment. They explain that by stimulating the visual cortex, they can essentially ignore the eye.