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"
The California turret spider build tiny towers on the forest floor that extend underground into a burrow. At night, they climb up into the tower and await their dinner — beetles, moths, and other insects. Video above. From KQED’s Deep Look: While remaining hidden inside their turret, they’re able to sense the vibrations created by […]
A cotton seed has germinated on the moon. The sprout is inside a canister on China’s Chang’e 4 lander that touched down on the far side of the moon earlier this month. From The Guardian: Plants have been grown previously on the International Space Station, but this is the first time a seed has sprouted […]
I wanted to make fudgy brownies.
It’s a rude awakening for that rookie vacationer abroad when they try to plug in their gear for the night. Veteran jet-setters know that outlet shapes can vary wildly from country to country, which necessitates that most boring must-have for any world-traveler: A sackful of clunky power adapters. Awkward problem, elegant solution: The Twist Plus […]
Looking for a career in music behind the boards, either as a music producer or DJ? It’s a good bet that you’re going to be working with Ableton Live. Each new iteration of this powerful workstation gives the user more tools to create, and it’s just as well suited for the task of meticulous track […]
The graveyard of failed startups is littered with concepts that just got lost in translation. At its core, that’s what great front-end design is about: Making an app or website usable, translating its best ideas smoothly to the user. It’s a skill so broad there might be no one book or course that covers it […]