Korean researchers have found a way to completely manipulate the movements of mice through fiber optic mind-controlling hardware. By installing a skull-penetrating headset on the mice which stimulated object-craving regions of the brain, researchers were able to manipulate an object dangling in front of the mouse’s line of sight in order to manipulate its movements forward, to the left, or to the right.
The mice that were retrofitted with the device have been referred to as cyborgs, and it’s not difficult to see why. Cyborg – (somewhat) fictional beings, which are part-organic body part and part bio-mechatronic body part – is a fitting bill for an animal who has had fiber optics introduced into its brain, especially when those fiber optics are able to manipulate the animal’s behavior to the extent the Korean research team proved capable of.
The duo of researchers from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) sent signals to the mouse’s brain via remote control, and those stimulating waves would prompt desire for the object hanging just in front of its eyes, attached to the headset. Depending on the direction which the researchers manipulated the object – front, left, right – the animal would move toward that object continually, considering that the object remained out of its reach. This means of control falls under the umbrella of a science called optogenetics, which allows investigation into the structure of function of neural networks, in this case of mice.
The power of the experiment was illustrated by the maze which the mouse was placed in. Riddled with food and even another female mouse – typically irresistible fodder for our feeble-minded subjects – the mazes were no match for the mind-controlled mice, who navigated adverse terrain and even narrow bridges while under the control of the researchers.
Check out the video for yourself.