Wednesday, June 19, 2019

"Jaguar is a mouse [and] from time to time, he plays video games on a rig that looks like it belongs in A Clockwork Orange"


Metal bars position him inside a small platform in front of a metal lever; his mission is to find a virtual box’s edges by feel. To do this, he reaches with his right paw to grab the joystick, which can rotate 360 degrees, and maneuvers it until he feels feedback from the machine. When he reaches the right target area—say, an edge of the box—a tube rewards him with a dribble of sugar water.

To track Jaguar’s brain activity, researchers have genetically altered him so his neurons emit fluorescent light when they fire. This light is visible through a glass plate fused to part of his skull with dental cement. A microscope affixed above the plate records images of his brain lighting up as he plays.