Those mad neuroscientists
, they'll never learn
, but maybe in the end we'll all be better off for it. Wired
has put together an extremely intriguing write-up of the short history of optogenetics -- featuring a German pond scum researcher, a Nobel Prize winner, and rat brains controlled by beams of light. Optogenetics is a relatively new technique for communicating with the brain, which involves the implantation of particular light-sensitive genes into animals with the purpose of repairing neurological ailments through light therapy (no, not that kind
). By hooking up fiber-optic cables to the affected area of the brain, researchers have been able to completely restore movement in mice with Parkinson's disease and their current efforts revolve around developing a less invasive method that doesn't go deeper than the outer surface of the brain. Most revolutionary of all, perhaps, is the eventual possibility for two-way traffic (i.e. a machine being able to both send and
receive information from the brain), which brings all those cyborg dreams
of ours closer to becoming a reality than ever before. Hit up the read link for the full dish.