Scientists at Rice University in the United States have discovered how to remotely control fruit flies by hacking their brains. The geoengineering team was able to utilize magnetic impulses to stimulate specified neurons that govern the fly's body orientation and movement.
The researchers began by genetically modifying the flies to produce a specific heat-sensitive ion channel in certain of their brains, according to a paper published in Nature Minerals. The scientists used a magnetic field to heat the particles and activate the neuron after infusing iron oxide nanoparticles into their brains to function as a heat trigger.
To show this, the researchers identified a neuron that led the insects to expand their wings, a common mating action. They discovered that it could stimulate brain circuits 50 times quicker than previous technology.
According to the researchers, this finding represents the "holy grail" of neurotechnologies since the technology might be applied in anything from curing illnesses to establishing brain-machine interfaces.
"The scientific community is looking for instruments that are both very precise and minimally intrusive to research the brain or cure neurological problems," said Mr. Jacob Robinson, an associate professor of electrical and computer engineering at Rice University.
"The ability to regulate specific brain circuits remotely via magnetic fields is something of a holy grail for neurotechnologies. Our study contributes significantly to that aim by increasing the speed of remote magnetic control, bringing it closer to the natural speed of the brain "According to the Independent, he went on to say.
The research team assembled specialists in genetic engineering, nanotechnology, and electrical engineering to accomplish the accomplishment. They stated that their primary objective is to employ this type of technology to help people with vision problems regain some sight. They indicated that by activating the visual brain, they might be able to skip the eyes entirely.