The cartoon convention of a bright light appearing above your head when you have an idea might not be fiction for long. Researchers at Kinki University, who we would have thought would have been too busy developing new kinds of latex and electrical devices, have recently performed experiments in watching thoughts happen - life on TV.
The first part of the experiment involves jamming a tiny camera directly into a mouse's brain. Not that "tiny" here is by human standards, while the mouse itself might have different ideas about just how small twelve millimeters-cubed of camera is when it's shoved into your cranium - and if it does, we'll see them. But before you decide that scientists have finally flipped into full "Evil scientists who do stuff for the hell of it", shaving animals for surgery while fiendishly twirling their moustaches and polishing their monocles on flayed puppy fur, hang around for the second part of the experiment: a chemical that lights up your brain when it thinks.
AMC flourophore (3099-v Peptide Institute, Japan) is a compound that lights up in the presence of certain enzyme activities that take place in the brain. Or to put it simply, thought = light. Imagine the benefits - then put on shades to protect people around you from the brightness of your imagining! This could be a revolution in conservation: universities around the world could save money on lighting, though electric bulbs would still have to be produced for places like reality TV shows, chat show audiences and scientological centers. Late at night you'll always know whether your partner is listening or the "mm-hmmms" are sheer muscle reflex activity.
The combination of miniature camera and CHEMICAL THAT CONVERTS THOUGHTS INTO LIGHT mean the scientists can observe blue light whenever memories are formed in the section of brain being observed. Possibly not very pleasant memories, what with the mouse having it's head in a vise and a tiny TV station instead of the top of it's skull, but an insanely cool piece of of progress nonetheless.
Do the researchers want to try this on a human? Is the atomic weight of cobalt 58.9? However there are some lingering vestiges of sanity at the Kinki Institute, which remains the best-named scientific establishment in the world no matter how often we say it, injected by Professor Ohta of the Nara Institute of Science and Technology who notes that human trials are at least ten years away. So that's something to look forward to.
Posted by Luke McKinney.
See what a mouse thinks http://www.reuters.com/article/scienceNews/idUST7718020080131
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