Animals use electricity to move, and so electricity can be used to make them move, as the scientists at Backyard Brains show in a neat DIY experiment that can be done with a cockroach's leg. For a larger scale version, they connected the device to a squid, which produce pigmented cells called chromatophores to reflect light. By using an iPod blasting Cypress Hill's "Insane in the Membrane" as the stimulant, they discovered a lovely, abstract look at the process.
The music causes a current to flow in wires hooked up to a squid, exciting its tissue. The video here shows an 8x microscope zoomed on the the dorsal side of the caudal fin of the Longfin Inshore Squid, which produces three colors in its process: brown, red, and yellow. The result is tough to describe--sort of like the start of a Roald Dahl painting (although he probably would've picked different tunes). Check it out below.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.