A Swiss Army Knife for Neuroscience, MIT Technology Review, April 21, 2015
“The tiny wires and tubes have to be stripped, splayed, and soldered by hand to connect them to components such as a recording device a mouse wears on its head. That’s quite a nightmare, says Andres Canales, a graduate student, who hopes to resolve the problem.” I hear you. But what you’re doing is pretty cool. That grad student happens to work for Polina Anikeeva. Her work, “[n]eural probes that combine optics, electronics, and drugs could help unlock the secrets of the brain” is not only literally mind-blowing, MIT did a photo shoot of it:
“4. Fiber is pulled from the furnace after being heated to 350 °C. A micrometer (red light) monitors the fiber’s size. 5. Each preform is drawn into as much as one kilometer of fiber. It is now about 1/100th as thick as it was originally.”
But here’s my favorite:
“8. This mouse has a fiber implanted in its brain. Visible on its head are a circuit board, a port to introduce light, and two more to inject drugs.”
The probes Professor Anikeeva creates “so far have incorporated as many as 36 microwires, optical waveguides, and hollow channels for carrying medicine.” So long as that tech carries something that can instantly switch off a migraine, I bet the mouse is completely chill with it.