Optogenetics is big news in neuroscience and could potentially change the lives of millions of humans who have lost sensations in parts of their bodies due to nerve damage or the loss of limbs even. Neurons in the brain work together to harvest thoughts and behaviors. Optogenetics is a technique used in biology using the combination of genetics and light to control events within these precise cells of living tissues. This technique allows scientists to casually manipulate cells and activate them directly.
In this interview UC Berkeley Postdoctoral Fellow, Alan Robert Mardinly, shares the research and development UC Berkeley neuroscientists are working on to build equipment using a holographic approach on the brain which activates or suppresses a group of neurons all at once to stimulate brain activity and insert false sensations. Essentially this manipulates it into thinking it has felt, seen or sensed something.
Based on the activity which is closely being monitored, researchers then decide which neurons to activate to simulate those patterns again in order to substitute missing sensations. This groundbreaking technology could change the lives of anyone who has lost a limb or feeling in parts of their body due to severe nerve damage, for example.