Infographic: Remote-Controlled Nerves
Infographic: Remote-Controlled Nerves

Infographic: Remote-Controlled Nerves

A tiny implanted optofluidic device enables researchers to control mouse nerves without touching the animals.

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Ruth Williams

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Oct 1, 2019

Peripheral nerves in freely moving mice can be manipulated with drugs, light, or a combination of both using a new implantable optofluidic device. The base unit of the device, which houses electronics for wireless control of an LED and microfluidic pumps, is sutured to the back of an anesthetized mouse. The thin, soft, flexible cuff is inserted into the body and attached to the nerve of interest (here, the sciatic nerve). Once the mouse recovers from surgery, it can roam about an enclosure while a researcher controls nerve activity from afar.


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Ruth Williams is a freelance journalist based in Connecticut. Email her at or find her on Twitter @rooph.