Scientists are developing a new tool that uses the power of light to provide mind control

A team of South Korean researchers has developed a new tool that uses only light to control brain circuits, emotions and behaviors.

As reported by The debrief, one Press release on the study states that ontogenetic technology called Opto-vTrap is “a light-inducible and reversible inhibition system that can temporarily prevent the release of vesicles from brain cells” – meaning emotions and behaviors of the mind can be chemically controlled using only a single light source.

Director C. Justin Lee of the Institute for Basic Science’s (IBS) Center for Cognition and Sociality and Professor Heo Won Do of the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) led the study, and its results were later published in the scientific journal Neuronto further outline the components and processes behind the Opto-vTrap.

The research team tested the technique on mice in a laboratory setting and discovered that the system’s blue light was able to temporarily control the release of neurotransmitters. The light triggered vesicle clustering in the brain, which disintegrated when the light was switched off, whereby the neurons regained their full function within an hour.

The study’s authors emphasized the importance of studying the types of cells in the brain to better understand how the brain functions. They explored the real world benefits of a technology like Opto-vTrap and how it could be used in different areas of brain research with the potential to help treat certain neurological disorders in the future.

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“The usefulness of Opto-vTrap can extend not only to the neurosciences, but also to our lives,” explained Lee, speaking of the tool’s ability to uncover complex interactions in the brain. “Opto-vTrap will help unravel mapping of brain circuits as well as epilepsy treatment, muscle spasms management, and skin tissue expansion technologies.”

Scientists examine neurons to learn more about how the brain works, and occasionally review or debunk previous ideas on the subject. One study left scientists in awe of how brains respond to watching movies after showing mice clips of various visual stimuli. Researchers in the same area also found a way to restore some brain functions in dead pigs.

Adele Ankers is a freelance writer for IGN. Follow her on Twitter.

Thumbnail Image Credit: RunPhoto / GettyImages

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