Flies are undeniably annoying leading us to just instinctively swat them if ever it is within our line of sight. We may not know it, but flies surprisingly play a crucial role in this world as a whole, especially in the area of pollination in certain plant life.
Knowing these facts, Flies caught the attention of the curious minds to the point of exploring these creatures. We even went so far as to trying to control the Flies through their minds. US Scientist created a mind controlling device that amazingly control flies and makes them display mating behaviors such as flirting.
Science behind Controlling Flies
Controlling the mind of the fly is not that complicated. Scientist are controlling these flies through the use of heat.
The process is simply known as thermogenetics. In thermogenetics, you basically use heat to control specific neurons inside your target organism. When these targeted neurons get stimulated or activated, they cause the organism to display some specific behaviours.
So, these scientists took flies and put it in a box including a ball of wax. As part of the experiment, scientists put a specific type of protein into the flies’ neural circuits. This protein was TRPA1, which was put inside the neural circuits of the flies’ because this protein is activated by heat.
The box was heated resulting to activating the special protein. The activation of this protein caused the fly to exhibit mating behaviours towards the ball of wax. It took quite some time to heat the box, so the scientist devised the Fly Mind Altering Device or FlyMAD.
The FlyMAD is a combination of video cameras and lasers. The video camera is responsible for tracking flies inside the box while the laser is responsible for targetting the flies’ head and inducing heat to trigger the special protein.
The fly continues trying to mate with the ball of wax for another 15 minutes even after the application of heat. The reason behind was because the protein had already been heated and remained activated till it could cool down.
Using the same principle to control the flies mind,scientists curiously tried to influence the fly’s movements . Again, using the agent TRPA1 protein in neurons responsible for movements. When they turned the laser on, flies started walking backwards!