This is surely a sign that we’re living in the future: Researchers have just invented a remote-controlled LED chip that can make a mouse walk in circles by using light to activate motor neurons in the animal’s brain—or peripheral nerves throughout its body.
This is wild. Chasing the elusive dream of curing paralysis, a team of scientists used stem cells and optogenetics to circumvent the central motor system of lab mice whose nerves had been cut. This enabled them to blast individual motor neurons with a laser, triggering movement in the legs of the mice.
Researchers call it the Fly Mind-Altering Device (aka "FlyMAD"), and to demonstrate the system's effectiveness, they've shown that firing a laser at the head of a fly can compel it to flirt, and attempt to copulate, with a ball of wax. (Come on. You know you want to watch this.)
Pain is a hard problem. Sure, we can throw a little morphine at pain in the short term, but researchers continue to struggle with solutions for chronic pain. New research from Stanford's futuristic Bio-X lab looks like a light at the end of the tunnel—literally!
The movie Inception is getting closer to reality. By planting false memories into the minds of mice, neuroscientists at MIT have created the first artificially implanted memories. And they've brought us closer to understanding the fallibility of human recollection.
New research could mean no more droopy numb face after you leave the dentist. Scientists are working on a precise form of anesthesia controlled by light.
Heart cells created by Stanford researchers could lead to a better pacemaker: The beat of the cells is paced by light rather than electricity.