Scientists have accomplished the seemingly impossible job of manipulating the brain of live organisms from a remote location. In this scenario, the creatures consist of genetically modified fruit flies as well as the neurons that are accountable for the fruit flies’ ability to expand their wings. However, this is just the beginning of things.
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), which has a rich history of domestic spying, is collaborating also with the National Science Foundation (NSF) on a project that will create a headset that really can understand the neurological activity in your mind and “start writing” it, as well as encrypt it, to the visual cortex of anyone, giving rise to brain-to-brain information exchange. U.s. department of defense does have a long tradition of domestic spying. NSF has a strong tradition of monitoring.
At least one of the scientists who work on the program, which is identified as the Magnetic, Optoelectronic, and Sonic Neural Access (MOANA) program, is part of the group which managed to figure out a way to plug into it and influence the brain cells of flies. This indicates that this technology is now being tried to tap for usage that goes far beyond the manipulation of fly wings. Jacob Robinson has been the research scientist in question.
Researchers from Rice University’s School of Neuroengineering as well as coworkers from Northwestern University, Duke University, Brown University, as well as Baylor College of Medicine were using nanocomposites to stimulate cells in fruit flies, which caused the flies to change the position of their wings as a result of the experiment, which was published in the scientific journal Nature Materials4. Robinson, an assistant professor in the department of computer and electrical engineering at Rice University, detailed it in a press release issued by the university.
“Remote control of specific brain circuits via magnetic fields is kind of a cornerstone for neurotechnologies,” says one researcher. Due to our study, a major step has been taken toward achieving that objective. By improving the rate of remotely electromagnetic manipulation, we have brought it nearer to the speed at which the brain operates.
The group applied genetic engineering to create a heat-activated ion channel inside the neural cells of the fruit flies. The flies were first given an injection of magnetic nanoparticles that produce heat in the presence of a magnetic field. After that, the flies were put inside an enclosure with only an electromagnet on the surface of it. The natural behavior of the fly to slightly extend its wing during the mating ritual is illustrated in the clip that can be found above. The flies do this when they are exposed to high temperatures.
“The researchers were able to warm the nanomaterials and trigger the neurons by modifying the magnetic field in a particular way,” the report states. According to Rice University, a review of footage from the studies showed that flies with the genetic changes assumed the wing-spread position within around half a second of the change in the magnetic field. 6 This is a pace that is approximately 50 times quicker than what was possible with the technology that was available in the past to trigger genetically determined neurons.
The ultimate goal of the group is to build brain communication systems that can be utilized by people. This includes the creation of technology that could allow users to see even when their pupils do not actually work by activating the brain’s regions connected with vision. Robinson stated.
“The final goal of this effort is to find different ways for ultimately making sections of the brain in individuals for the sake of therapeutic intervention all without having to resort to invasive surgical procedures.” It’s likely that we’ll have to bring the time it takes for a reaction down to a few thousandths of a second before we can match the inherent accuracy of the brain. That being said, there’s still a ways away to go.”
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