Wednesday, April 17, 2013

... thus, giving new meaning to a bright idea!

Optogenetics is the process by which genetically-programmed neurons or other cells can be activated by subjecting them to light. Among other things, the technology helps scientists understand how the brain works, which could in turn lead to new treatments for brain disorders.

Presently, fiber optic cables must be wired into the brains of test animals in order to deliver light to the desired regions. That may be about to change, however, as scientists have created tiny LEDs that can be injected into the brain.

The LEDs were developed by a team led by Prof. John A. Rogers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and Prof. Michael R. Bruchas from Washington University. The lights themselves can be as small as single cells and are printed onto the end of a flexible plastic ribbon that’s thinner than a human hair. Using a micro-injection needle, they can be injected precisely and deeply into the brain, with a minimum of disturbance to the brain tissue. (more)

FutureWatch - Mico-sensors to allow downloading of consciousness - knowledge, visuals, ideas, etc..