If there is complex life on another planet like Mars, it may look less like the big-eyed bipeds of sci-fi lore and more like a tiny, 500-micrometer long nematoda worm. A Princeton University team has discovered a new species of worm, termed Halicephalobus mephisto (after Faust's demon Mephistopheles), at depths so deep that it was thought multicellular life couldn’t survive there.
Researchers at Harvard have figured out how to manipulate the actions of nematode worms sans wires or electrodes, opening the door to a better understanding of how just a few neurons can influence behavior in animals. Scientists at the university’s Center for Brain Science have successfully taken over the nervous systems of the tiny nematode C. elegans using nothing but laser light.
By Rose EvelethPosted 11.08.2010 at 10:20 am 2 Comments
Bomb squads have long used metal detectors, X-ray machines and dogs to uncover threats. Without them, authorities may not have intercepted some of the thirteen homemade explosives that froze Greece’s outgoing mail earlier this week. But soon they may find a new tool in their quest to find the bad guys and their bombs: microscopic worms.
Researchers in Buffalo are bringing us a step closer to being controlled by machines. Or magnetized nanoparticles, at least: Heated magnetic nanoparticles targeted to cell membranes could control your behavior, according to a new paper in Nature Nanotechnology.
The researchers, led by University of Buffalo physics professor Arnd Pralle, used magnetic fields to activate neurons in a cell culture and steer the movement of nematode worms.
Star Trek introduced the world to a wide range of fictional technology, most of which, like beaming or warp drive, will likely remain fiction. However, a team of scientists from the University of Canada has taken the phaser, the show's famous stun-laser, out of the TV and into reality. Unfortunately, right now it only works on worms.