Scientists hack flies’ brains to control their wings remotely
A study published in the journal Nature details how a group of scientists they hacked the brains of flies to control their wings remotelya small advance so that, in the future, the human brains can be controlled in the same way.
The main author of the investigation, Jacob Robinson, of Rice University in Houston, Texas, offered details about what he did with his colleagues, in statements quoted by the La Razón website.
“Remote control of neural circuitry is something of a holy grail for neurotechnologies.. Our work takes an important step towards that goal because it increases the speed of the magnetic remote control, bringing it closer to the natural speed of the brainRobinson explains.
Work or technology developed by experts activates neural circuits about 50 times faster than any other. With this, they managed to hack the brain of the flies.
Robinson, accompanied by specialists in genetic engineering, nanotechnology and electrical engineering, created genetically modified flies that express an ion channel in their heat-sensitive brain. By stimulating that channel, insects spread their wings.
They injected magnetic iron oxide nanoparticles into the brains of flies, which heat up rapidly in the presence of a magnetic charge. By turning on a magnetic field, they were able to heat those iron oxide nanoparticles and, in turn, those specific heat-sensitive wing ions..
The result: the unfolding of the wings. The experts only needed to press a button, for half a second, to achieve it.
The researchers are hopeful that this new success with genetically engineered cells will allow future study of human brain function and control. It could result in the discovery of new treatments for neurological diseases and in the manufacture of new brain-machine communication devices.