Stanford scientists made mice walk in circles via remote control of a wireless LED implanted in the rodents' brains. Switching the LED on and off controls neurons that have been previously genetically engineered to be light-sensitive.
This incredible field, called optogenetics, enables researchers to better understand the function of the brain. These kinds of experiments previously required wired implants or bulky devices worn on the animals' head. From IEEE Spectrum:
The new device, consisting of a power receiving coil, IC, and LED, weighs in at 20 to 50 milligrams (a mouse’s head is approximately 2 grams). Its tiny dimensions mean it can be implanted not only in the brain, but also in the spine or the limbs, allowing researchers to experiment with optogenetic stimulation of the spinal cord and peripheral nerves. The researchers note that the implant can be built “with readily available components and tools,” and they express hope that it will be quickly adopted by the scientific community.
"With a Better Optogenetic Light Switch, Scientists Can Flip Neurons On and Off"
Thirty years ago today, the Voyager 1 spaceprobe had completed its ncounters with the outer planets and was careening out of our solar system. The time came to shut off the probes’ cameras to preserve power and memory for the other onboard scientific instruments. But before engineers flipped the switch, one last photo opportunity was […]
While scientists have studied Moon rocks for 50 years, researchers have for the first time conducted deep analysis on a single grain of lunar dust, atom by atom. Using a common materials science technique called atom probe tomography that’s not widely used by geologists, the Chicago Field Museum’s Jennika Greer and colleagues probed the grain […]
This is so amazing. Watch what happens when a blacksmithing anvil is lowered into a large vat of pure liquid mercury. Update: One of our readers posted the link to the original video in the comments. I have replaced the animated GIF. Thanks, Crispy75. [H/t Alberto Gaitán via Bryce Lynch] Image: Screengrab from GIF
You hear the stories all the time. You know the ones about how a new vehicle instantly loses hundreds, even thousands of dollars in value the second a new owner drives it off the lot. Depreciation is a killer, especially when the item itself works just as well — or maybe even better than all […]
Spring cleaning time is right around the corner, and, if we’re being honest, the whole thing is kind of a drag. But keeping your home clean in any season is necessary for both health and happiness, so why not make it a little less daunting? The correct tools help make any work easier, and that’s […]
Quality knives matter — and in more ways than you might expect. At the most basic level, having a functioning set of proper kitchen knives means you can actually get in a kitchen, start putting together a meal and have the right tools to handle all tasks. From the blunt force of the clever to […]