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Researchers hack the brains of flies to control animals from afar

My mind is mine and mine alone! Nobody can read my mind or even control me from the outside, and it has to stay that way. Who wants to mess with their brain cells? Don’t worry, that’s nothing to fear for humans in the near future (yet), but flies have caught it now. The researchers were able to hack their brains and remotely control their movements to some extent.

Researchers manipulate the brains of flies

Precise instruments and minimally invasive surgery are required

“To study the brain or treat neurological disorders, the scientific community is looking for very precise and minimally invasive tools,” said Jacob Robinson, one of the study’s authors at Rice University in Texas. “Remote control of selected neural circuits with magnetic fields is something of the holy grail of neurotechnology. Our work is an important step toward this goal as it increases the speed of the magnetic remote control, bringing it closer to the brain’s natural speed.”

Perceptions transferable from one person to another?

The team’s official goal is to stimulate people’s visual cortex soon to correct visual impairment. Navigation problems could one day be solved by remote control, but DARPA (the Pentagon Research Agency), which is funding the project, has other plans: They want to develop a headset that will be used to read neural activity and transmit it to another. someone to move it. This is how one person can read another person’s thoughts and perceptions. If this is a good idea?

Flies spread their wings “when driving.”

Now for the actual experiment: The Texas team performed a genetic modification in flies that caused the animals to develop a heat-sensitive ion channel on some of their neurons. When the channel senses heat, it activates neurons, which in turn are there to stimulate wing diffusion. Flies usually use this gesture when mating. The scientists also injected iron oxide nanoparticles into the insects’ brains, after which the animals were placed in a bowl over a magnetic coil. When the magnetic field was turned on, the ion channels noticed the heat – and the flies spread their wings. The effect lasted about half a second.

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This is what the experiment looks like in the video


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