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Dec 23, 2020

2020 in Neuroscience, Longevity, and AI—and What’s to Come

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical, robotics/AI, space, virtual reality

Honorable Mentions

One more scientific brilliance this year is the use of light in neuroscience and tissue engineering. One study, for example, used lasers to directly print a human ear-like structure under the skin of mice, without a single surgical cut. Another used light to incept smell in mice, artificially programming an entirely new, never-seen-in-nature perception of a scent directly into their brains. Yet another study combined lasers with virtual reality to dissect how our brains process space and navigation, “mentally transporting” a mouse to a virtual location linked to a reward. To cap it off, scientists found a new way to use light to control the brain through the skull without surgery—though as of now, you’ll still need gene therapy. Given the implications of unauthorized “mind control,” that’s probably less of a bug and more of a feature.

We’re nearing the frustratingly slow, but sure, dying gasp of Covid-19. The pandemic defined 2020, but science kept hustling along. I can’t wait to share what might come in the next year with you—may it be revolutionary, potentially terrifying, utterly bizarre or oddly heart-warming.

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