Scientists use mice for all kinds of fun things, from injecting old mice with young mouse blood to training them to sniff for bombs, but when doing research, it's often very difficult to see what's actually going on in a mouse's brain. A new microscope actually mounts to a mouse's head like a hat, allowing the mouse to freely move around while the scientists try to figure out how it tastes umami flavor, or whatever.
Created by neuroscientists at Stanford University, this new device is a miniature fluorescent microscope so tiny and light--less than two grams--it can be mounted on a mouse's head. That will allow scientists to measure a mouse's brain function in a totally new way, while it moves, but that's not its only advantage. The new microscope is also extremely accurate, according to Technology Review--it can measure the activity of up to 200 brain cells, which is more than traditional microscopes, which also have the problem of requiring the mouse to be immobile.
Even better, the new microscope can apparently be constructed of very inexpensive parts. The first prototype of the microscope cost almost $50,000, but the researchers are confident that they can bring that price down--way down. It uses parts that are easily mass-produced, for one thing, and could be used for all kinds of different animals, not just mice. The study was published in this week's issue of Nature Methods. It's all part of the never-ending quest to better visualize what's going on inside a mouse's adorable head.
That is AWESOME. For 10 grand can I get a microscope in my brain?
May I have the 50,000 or 10,000 dollars and I will tell you exactly what the mouse is thinking. "Wake up, roll out of hair bed, find cheese or crumbs on floor, avoid cat or dog at all cost, sneak under kitchen table and cabinets and search for food. OH! Notice female mouse. Forget everything and chase female mouse. Ut-Oh! Female mouse has boyfriend, wait around the corner. Great boyfriends gone, go see female mouse. Whew! Quickie done! Now find more find more cheese! Spend day avoiding cat and dog and boyfriend of girl mouse and searching for crumbs. Night time is coming, tired must sleep. Find hair bed inside wall, sleep. Zzzzz". Now may I have my money please and you can keep you camera.
Did everybody read that this above device can be constructive from very inexpensive parts. Followed by the prototype was around initial cost was $50,000!
Those 2 comments seem contrary. I wonder what the final production price is of this unit.
Technology review commented "It's also expensive, with the optical and electronics components costing $25,000 to $50,000."
I can only conclude the parts to build this are low and the markup and sale of this thing is gigantic. Maybe I am missing some details here.
becosmos, it said the prototype cost 50k to build!
It is always like this. the prototype can cost a fortune to build, but when they go through mass production, the cost comes that ALOT!
For example, if you build a car prototype it can run you around 200k, 300k, but after mass production it is only 20k!
So this could cost 2k or less going through mass production!!!
Prototypes are always orders of magnitude more expensive than a final product. The TechReview article only mentions the expense of a previous version, which was attached with a fiber optic cable and limited the mouse's movement - THAT one's components cost up to 50 grand on their own.
The TR article doesn't actually mention how much this prototype cost them, but considering the parts are easy to manufacture, it could easily be less expensive once they get the ball rolling.
Money money money
it's so funny
in a mouse's brain!
I really do want to see a picture of this mouse, with its black microscope-tophat :)