A team of Israeli scientists devised a system by which a person can use their thoughts alone to trigger tiny DNA-based nanorobots inside a living creature to release a drug.
The researchers from Herzliya's Interdirisplinary Center and Bar Ilan University previously developed origami-like nanorobots out of DNA that open their "gate" when exposed to electromagnetic energy. In the new work, a computer algorithm detected the change in a person's brainwaves when doing arithmetic and then switched on a magnetic coil trained on a cockroach that had been injected with the nanobots, causing the gates to open. From New Scientist:
The algorithm could be trained to track other types of brain activity, says Sachar Arnon, a member of the team at the Interdisciplinary Center. "It could track brain states that underlie ADHD or schizophrenia, for example. It could be modified to suit your needs."
The idea would be to automatically trigger the release of a drug when it is needed. For example, some people don't always know when they need medication – before a violent episode of schizophrenia, for instance. If an EEG could detect it was coming, it could stimulate the release of a preventative drug.
"People could take this in all different directions," says Arnon. "Imagine if you could deliver the exact amount of alcohol that you wanted to keep you in a happy state but not drunk. Kind of stupid, but this could happen. I think we've just scratched the surface."
"Thought-Controlled Nanoscale Robots in a Living Host" (PLoS ONE)