Scientists have discovered a way to remotely control the brains of numerous animals simultaneously and independently via the Internet, which will change the way we do neuroscience.
Researchers believe that this technology can accelerate research to uncover basic brain functions, as well as the fundamentals of various neuropsychiatric and neurological disorders.
The multidisciplinary research team, made up of researchers from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), Washington University in St. Louis and the University of Colorado, Boulder, created a wireless ecosystem with its own implantable wireless devices and Internet of Things (IoT) infrastructure , to enable high-throughput neuroscience experiments over the Internet.
IoT groups and interconnects devices and objects through a network (for example the Internet), through which all these devices (sensors, brain implants …) can be visible to each other and interact without direct human intervention.
This innovative technology could in the future allow scientists to manipulate the brains of animals anywhere in the world, as explained in an article published in the journal Nature Biomedical Engineering.
FOR 40 EUROS
For 40 euros “This innovative technology is very versatile and adaptable. It can remotely control numerous neural implants and laboratory tools in real time or on a scheduled basis without direct human interactions, ”explains Professor Jae-Woong Jeong, from the KAIST School of Electrical Engineering and lead author of the study, in a statement. .
And he adds: “These wireless neural devices and equipment integrated with IoT technology have enormous potential for science and medicine.”
The wireless ecosystem only requires a small computer that can be purchased for less than 40 euros, which connects to the Internet and communicates with wireless multifunctional brain probes or other types of conventional laboratory equipment using IoT control modules.
By optimally integrating the versatility and modular construction of unique IoT hardware and software within a single ecosystem, this wireless technology offers new applications that have not been achieved until now by a separate technology.
Technology ecosystem These applications include, but are not limited to, minimalist hardware (geared towards devices such as smartphones), global remote access, targeted and scheduled experiments, customizable automation, and high-performance scalability, the researchers note.
“As long as researchers have access to the Internet, they can activate, personalize, stop, validate and store the results of large experiments at any time and from anywhere in the world. They can remotely perform large-scale neuroscience experiments on animals deployed in multiple countries, ”adds lead author Raza Qazi, a researcher at KAIST and the University of Colorado, Boulder. “The low cost of this system allows it to be easily adopted and can further drive innovation in many laboratories,” he adds.
One of the important advantages of this IoT neurotechnology is its ability to be massively deployed around the world due to its minimalist hardware, low installation cost, ease of use, and customizable versatility.
CHANGE IN NEUROSCIENCE
Change in neuroscience Scientists around the world can rapidly implement this technology within their laboratories with minimal budgetary provisions to achieve global remote access and experimental automation, thus potentially reducing the time required to unravel various neuroscientific challenges, such as those associated with intractable neurological conditions. .
Another lead study author, Jordan McCall, from the Department of Anesthesiology and Center for Clinical Pharmacology at Washington University in St. Louis, points out that this technology has the potential to change the way neuroscience studies are conducted. basic.
“One of the biggest limitations in trying to understand how the mammalian brain works is that we have to study these functions in unnatural conditions. This technology brings us one step closer to conducting important studies without direct human interaction with study subjects, ”McCall explains.
New applications The ability to remotely schedule experiments is moving toward automating these types of experiments, the researchers note.
Kyle Parker, another lead author of the study, explains: “This experimental automation can help us reduce the number of animals used in biomedical research, by reducing the variability introduced by various experimenters. This is especially important given our moral imperative to seek research designs that allow for this reduction, ”he concludes.
Researchers believe that this wireless technology may open up new opportunities for many applications, including brain research, pharmaceuticals, and telemedicine to treat diseases of the brain and other organs remotely.
This remote automation technology could become even more valuable when many labs need access simultaneously – for example, during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.