Hijacking brains

I came across this article and video via the IEEE Spectrum. As the article notes:

Berkeley scientists appear to have demonstrated an impressive degree of control over their insect’s flight; they report being able to use an implant for neural stimulation of the beetle’s brain to start, stop, and control the insect in flight. They could even command turns by stimulating the basalar muscles.

The abstract (and some supporting material) for the corresponding scientific article is available here: http://www.frontiersin.org/integrativeneuroscience/paper/10.3389/neuro.07/024.2009/

This is impressive!

What I would be even more curious to see, when someone gets that far, is modulation of non-trivial choice behaviour (preferably, in the presence of controlled adversaries). One of the benefits of such experiments, presumably one of the reasons such work gets funded (apart from obvious military uses that I am not so excited about), is the demonstration that we really do understand some aspects of the behaviour – well enough to carefully tweak it. So, if we could understand human decision-making behaviours in similar ways…


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