Scientists in Germany have engineered a living worm so that its nerves and muscles can be controlled by light, according to NewScientist.com.
Seen in the labratory, the tiny worm dances to flashes of light: a flash of yellow, it darts forward. A flash of blue, it moves back. With continual flashes, the creature responds appropriately each time.
How does it work? The flashes of blue force the worm's neurons to fire electric pulses, causing muscles to clench. Yellow flashes and the nerves stop firing.
The worm appears to be the furthest scientists have gone yet in the application of technology that allows them to turn brain cells on and off whenever they please.
Hopes are that the technology, somehow working with light inside the brain, could create a new way to treat conditions such as depression or Parkinson's disease.