Scientists are developing wireless networks that all

image: Image: World Wide Control of Neural System: Remote control of brain circuits via the Internet.
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Credit: KAIST

A new study shows that researchers can remotely control the brain circuits of many animals simultaneously and independently via the Internet. Scientists believe that this newly developed technology can accelerate brain research and various neuroscience studies to uncover basic brain functions as well as the foundations of various neuropsychiatric and neurological disorders.

A multidisciplinary team of researchers from KAIST, the University of Washington in St. Louis, and the University of Colorado in Boulder, have created a wireless ecosystem with its own wireless implantable devices and Internet of Things (IoT) infrastructure. to enable high-speed neuroscience experiments over the Internet. This innovative technology could allow scientists to manipulate the brains of animals anywhere in the world. The study was published in the journal Nature Biomedical Engineering November 25

“This new technology is highly versatile and adaptive. It can remotely control many neural implants and laboratory tools in real time or in a programmed manner without direct human interactions, ”said Professor Jae-Woong Jeong of KAIST School of Electrical Engineering and lead author of the study. . “These wireless neural devices and equipment integrated with IoT technology have enormous potential for science and medicine.”

The wireless ecosystem only requires a minicomputer that can be purchased for under $ 45, which connects to the internet and communicates with wireless multifunctional brain probes or other types of conventional lab equipment using modules. IoT control. By optimally integrating the versatility and modular construction of unique IoT hardware and software within a single ecosystem, this wireless technology offers new applications that have not previously been demonstrated by a single stand-alone technology. This includes, but is not limited to, minimalist hardware, global remote access, selective and scheduled experiences, customizable automation, and high-speed scalability.

“As long as researchers have access to the Internet, they can trigger, customize, stop, validate and store the results of large experiments anytime and from anywhere in the world. They can remotely perform large-scale neuroscience experiments on animals deployed in multiple countries, ”said lead author Dr. Raza Qazi, a researcher at KAIST and the University of Colorado at Boulder. “The low cost of this system allows it to be easily adopted and can fuel innovation in many laboratories,” added Dr. Qazi.

One of the important advantages of this IoT neurotechnology is its ability to be mass-deployed across the world due to its minimalist hardware, low installation cost, ease of use, and customizable versatility. Scientists around the world can quickly implement this technology in their existing labs with minimal budget concerns to achieve globally remote access, scalable experimental automation, or both, potentially reducing the time it takes to solve various neuroscientific challenges such as those associated with intractable neurological conditions.

Another lead author of the study, Professor Jordan McCall of the Department of Anesthesiology and Center for Clinical Pharmacology at Washington University in St. Louis, said the technology has the potential to change the way studies fundamental neuroscience is performed. “One of the biggest limitations when trying to understand how the mammalian brain works is that we have to study these functions under unnatural conditions. This technology brings us one step closer to doing important studies without interaction. direct human contact with the study subjects. ”

The ability to schedule experiments remotely tends to automate these types of experiments. Dr Kyle Parker, instructor at Washington University in St. Louis and other lead author of the study, added, “This experimental automation can potentially help us reduce the number of animals used in biomedical research by reducing the number of animals used in biomedical research. the variability introduced by various experimenters. This is especially important given our moral imperative to seek out research designs that enable this reduction. “

Researchers believe this wireless technology may open up new opportunities for many applications, including brain research, pharmaceuticals, and telemedicine to remotely treat diseases of the brain and other organs. This remote automation technology could become even more valuable when many labs have to shut down, such as at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This work was supported by grants from the KAIST Global Singularity Research Program, the National Research Foundation of Korea, the National Institute of Health in the United States, and associated universities in Oak Ridge.

About KAIST

KAIST is Korea’s first and best science and technology university. KAIST was established in 1971 by the Korean government to train scientists and engineers committed to industrialization and economic growth in Korea.

Since then, KAIST and its 67,000 graduates have been the gateway to advanced science and technology, innovation and entrepreneurship. KAIST has become one of the most innovative universities with more than 10,000 students enrolled in five colleges and seven schools, including 1,039 international students from 90 countries.

On the brink of its half-century in 2021, KAIST continues to strive for a better world through its activities in education, research, entrepreneurship and globalization. For more information on KAIST, please visit http://www.kaist.ac.kr/.


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