Science may be a step closer to controlling other living things from a distance. This was shown by scientists from Rice University in the United States, who were able to manage the movement of a group of flies after “penetrating” their brain.
Details of the experiment are described in an article in the scientific journal Nature materials.
Led by experts in genetic engineering, nanotechnology and electrical engineering, the team worked with Gene editing for fruit flies Expression of a heat-sensitive protein. When this protein was activated, it made the insects open their wings.
In the next step, the researchers injected the insects’ brains with a thermal stimulator (iron oxide nanoparticles) that could be excited by a magnetic charge.
With both actions the circle was created. Thus, when they turned on a magnetic field, the scientists stimulated these nanoparticles in the animal’s brain as well as the protein that dictates the movement of its wings.
The time elapsed between a human pressing the button and the insects moving their limbs one minute. That is, they say, they do a job 50 times faster than the best technologies to date.
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This work is important because it “increases the speed of the magnetic remote control, bringing it closer to the normal speed of the brain,” said Jacob Robinson, the experiment’s lead author and professor at Rice University. University statement.
In the future, Robinson and his team’s goal is that their findings in animals can be applied to humans, primarily to give a sense of seeing when the eyes stop working. They can achieve this by stimulating parts of the brain associated with this sense.
Likewise, this technology could pave the way for future treatments for a range of neurological diseases or the development of brain-organ communication technology.
“To study the brain or treat neurological disorders, the scientific community is looking for tools that are incredibly accurate, but also minimally invasive,” Robinson said.
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