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Comment: Re:Big Deal. What I want to know is, (Score 1) 78

by Kramer747 (#34901872) Attached to: Remote Control Worms With Laser Light, Using FOSS

Sure. It would take awhile to get the choreography down. I believe the Stirman group made videos of a paralyzed worm that wiggles its head and tail, and we have also done the same, although I don't have any videos of that up.

We actually discussed this in lab and I think "All the single ladies" would have been a good song choice since the worms are also single (albeit hermaphrodites).

Ultimately we decided not to pursue this, even though it would have been a great visual. Unfortunately, scientists today operate in a political environment that is increasingly hostile to research. See for example this Senator who wants the public to rifle through NSF grants and propose research projects to cut: http://majorityleader.gov/YouCut/Review.htm (For the record, this is a manifestly BAD idea.) At an institution where research is largely publicly funded I have to walk a fine line between making my research accessible to a broad audience and preventing the gimmicks from overshadow the real science.

  The CoLBeRT system is extremely useful for our understanding of the nervous system. It allows us to systematically probe the connections of the worm's nervous system to to understand how the signals these neurons create correlate with the worms' behavior. The research that this tool enables will yield insights that directly help us understand our own much more complicated brain. With certain political parties up in arms about cutting science research, I don't want to give anyone an easy bullseye by making a dancing worm. Very good idea, nonetheless.

Biotech

Remote Control Worms With Laser Light, Using FOSS 78

Posted by timothy
from the haven't-you-always-wanted-to-see-those-words? dept.
Kramer747 writes "to share a new tool I've developed for neuroscience that uses optogenetics to remotely control the neurons of a worm as it swims or crawls. Its called CoLBeRT, Controlling Locomotion and Behavior in Real Time. With the instrument I can induce the worm to stop, accelerate, lay eggs or experience the illusion of touch. All source code to run the instrument is GPLd and available. Science News and Scientific American both have stories. The project homepage is at colbert.physics.harvard.edu." I hope that name also constitutes a successful bid to get on the actual Colbert show!
Science

+ - Remote control worms with laser light (FOSS)-> 1

Submitted by Kramer747
Kramer747 (152065) writes "I'm a longtime /. fan and wanted to share a new tool I've developed for neuroscience that uses optogenetics to remotely control the neurons of a worm as it swims or crawls. Its called CoLBeRT, Controlling Locomotion and Behavior in Real Time. With the instrument I can induce the worm to stop, accelerate, lay eggs or experience the illusion of touch. All source code to run the instrument is GPLd and available at http://github.com/samuellab/mindcontrol Science News and Scientific American both have stories at http://www.sciencenews.org/view/generic/id/68860/description/Making_a_worm_do_more_than_squirm and http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=single-worm-neurons

The project homepage is at http://colbert.physics.harvard.edu/"

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